City of Kamloops to apply for grant to fund emergency services equipment, training

City to apply for ESS funding

City council voted Tuesday in favour of applying for grant funding to support Kamloops’ Emergency Support Services, the team most recently deployed to assist evacuees from the Jan. 19 Cherry Avenue apartment fire.

Rebecca Cooke, the city’s community development and Emergency Support Services coordinator, said in a presentation to council that Kamloops is a regional host community, with the ESS team providing support services to the city and surrounding areas during evacuations, including large-scale emergencies.

According to Cooke, additional money from the Union of BC Municipalities’ community preparedness fund will help the team purchase PPE, other equipment to prepare for emergency response, and support volunteer recruitment, training and retention.

Mayor Ken Christian applauded ESS team members and volunteers for their ongoing work, including the response to the fire aftermath.

“These deployments are complicated, and we seem to do it with ease,” Christian said in Tuesday’s council meeting.

According to Cooke, after last week's apartment fire, the ESS team set up a virtual reception centre, providing over 300 hours of support for the displaced residents.

Cooke said the city has been implementing the province’s Emergency Registration Assistance tool, an online system used to help register evacuees. A 2020 UBCM grant allowed them to purchase computers and equipment to further modernize the evacuee registration and referral system.

Dozens of staff are now trained to operate the system, and training exercises were conducted throughout 2020.

She said the team have also been mentoring other communities with onboarding the ERA system.

Council voted to support the staff’s intention to apply for 2021 grant funding, and according to city staff, UBCM will confirm if the money will be awarded to the city in the spring.

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