West Kelowna  

$5 million for fires

Nicholas Johansen

UPDATE 10:36 a.m.

The B.C. government has announced new funding to help communities prepare for and recover from emergencies.

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in Peachland on Friday announced an additional $5-million will be added to the Province's Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF).

Volunteer and composite fire departments throughout B.C. will now be able to apply for additional funding through the program.

This $5 million is part of a newly established funding stream to help eligible applicants in local government and First Nations communities build resiliency with new or replacement equipment and firefighter training. Eligible fire departments include local governments, First Nations communities and society-run departments.

"What we really want to do is to level the playing field for smaller volunteer and composite fire departments in B.C.'s local and First Nations communities," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "The smaller a department's budget, the higher the priority in the allocation of these funds, so we can make sure these funds get to the communities that need them most."

Previous provincial investments in CEPF were only open to local governments. This $5 million is part of an additional $36-million investment in the fund and part of an initiative by Emergency Management BC (EMBC) to increase resiliency across all communities in British Columbia and improve B.C.'s overall emergency management system.

"Emergency preparation should be a priority in all of our communities, and we need to collaborate to make that happen," said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. "Our government is working hard to build resiliency from the ground up in our emergency management system by helping ensure local governments and First Nations have the tools they need to be ready for all hazards."

"The Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia applauds the announcement of funding being made available to volunteer and composite fire departments through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund," said Phil Lemire, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia. "We are encouraged by this provincial initiative that will assist departments to better protect their communities."

Specific details on program administration, such as funding distribution, application intake dates and application guides, will be discussed and finalized through EMBC's Disaster Mitigation Unit and the UBCM local government program services section.

ORIGINAL 10:01 a.m.

B.C.'s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth and Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness will be joined by representatives from the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia and the First Nations Emergency Services Society for a special announcement on community emergency preparedness in Peachland, Friday morning at 10 a.m.

Castanet reporter Nich Johansen will be covering the event and will provide the latest information as soon as it is available.


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