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Hot cash: regional volunteer fire departments receive boost from the Province

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
January 13th, 2024

The region is expected to heat up with almost $700,000 in grants from the Province for several volunteer fire departments.

Through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF) the volunteer fire departments — as well as Nelson’s composite professional department — will receive the money to enhance their capabilities by funding new training and equipment.

“These departments don’t have the same resources found in larger communities,” said George Heyman, acting minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, and minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

The funding also helps fire departments meet the B.C. structure firefighter minimum training standards, such as the $30,000 the Nelson Fire Rescue will receive for fire officer one training and rapid intervention firefighter-safety devices.

Hands-on training, personnel and demonstration props, such as fire-window simulators, thermal imaging cameras and rescue mannequins, for 16 volunteer fire departments in the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

The RDCK will receive $473,602 for fire-services training program with regional departments of Balfour-Harrop, Beasley, Blewett, Crescent Valley, Kaslo, North Shore, Ootischenia, Pass Creek, Passmore, Riondel, Robson, Slocan, Tarry’s, Winlaw, Yahk-Kingsate and Ymir.

Just to the west, the Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary will bring in $118,644 for firefighter tools and equipment for several departments, including Christina Lake (firefighter PPE, equipment and training), Big White (firefighter PPE and equipment purchase) and Beaverdell (radios, wildland equipment, shop tools).
Grand Forks Volunteer Fire Department received $29,976 for forcible-entry training prop and replacement hose, while Salmo’s volunteer department was given $29,343 for fire department equipment renewal.

Through the CEPF in 2024, the Province provided more than $6.2 million for 122 local projects and more than 200 volunteer and composite fire departments. The CEPF is administered by the Union of BC Municipalities for the Province.

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