As the province distributes $6.3 million in equipment and training for volunteer firefighters, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is getting a $120,000 slice of the pie.
On Feb. 16, the province announced the latest Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF) recipients. CEPF streams include public notification and evacuation planning, emergency support services, and extreme heat risk mapping, assessment and planning.
On the Coast, the funding will be used for equipment modernization and enhancements. In a Sept. 8, 2022, agenda for an SCRD committee of the whole meeting, manager of protective services Matt Treit presented the potential equipment requests to be included in the grant application. He listed turnout gear, thermal imaging cameras, battery operated tools, portable water tanks and particulate blocking hoods, noting the small equipment is not included in the 20-year capital plans for fire departments.
Some of the equipment would replace older tools with more efficient models for fighting both structure and “wildland urban interface fires." Other requested items are to enhance firefighter health and safety. Treit’s report said the grant is expected to cover all of the eligible associated costs, and a maximum of $30,000 would be allocated to each of the SCRD’s four fire departments.
“Many people across the province live in communities with fire services delivered by volunteer or part-volunteer fire departments, and they depend on those fire crews to keep them and their families safe when fires happen,” Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, said in a Feb. 16 press release. “These fire crews have different challenges than most fire departments, and this funding will go a long way by supporting them to purchase new or replacement equipment and deliver training to their volunteers and staff.”
B.C.’s fire commissioner, Brian Godlonton called volunteer firefighters “vital public safety partners” in the release.
The SCRD’s board acceptance of the grant will be considered in Round 2 of the budget meeting on March 2.