The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) was recently successful in acquiring funds for two separate emergency preparedness projects.
On March 21, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced three Sunshine Coast projects among a list of 14 First Nations and local governments receiving funds to develop emergency evacuation route plans. He called the funding “critical," considering the past year’s long list of emergencies: a heat dome, wildfires, flooding and mudslides.
The SCRD’s Egmont evacuation plan, the Town of Gibsons’ Gibsons Bluff evacuation plan and the District of Sechelt’s Tuwanek evacuation plan were approved for $25,000 each. A total of $485,000 was announced from the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund to update or create new plans for residents without an established route for large-scale emergency evacuation.
"Given the increased frequency, intensity and duration of disasters caused by climate change, it's clear that we need to support essential work that communities are doing, like planning evacuation routes,"Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for Emergency Preparedness, said in a press release.
“Springtime is a great time to learn about the FireSmart program, assess your home’s level of risk and decide what projects you could accomplish to reduce your risk,” Matt Treit, SCRD manager of protective services, said in the release.
The Union of BC Municipalities grant will be spent on local projects, including awareness. One way to reduce risk and damage of wildfire is through fuel management, by decreasing the amount of flammable materials such as underbrush, tree needles and waste wood.
“This vital work can significantly slow a wildfire’s rate of spread and also make a safer environment for first responders to extinguish a blaze,” the press release said.
“Ultimately, the protection of private property from the threat of wildfire rests with individual property owners,” Treit said. “No one has a bigger vested interest in protecting your home from wildfire than you do. As citizens and homeowners, we need to take action to protect our own homes and properties and the SCRD can help.”
Find more information and request the free FireSmart house assessment at www.scrd.ca/firesmart or 604-885-6887.