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Haida Gwaii firefighters will be safer with a portion of $6.3 million for PPE

Three volunteer fire rescue dept. to receive combined $79,000 for safety equipment
Port Edward volunteer firefighters will benefit from improved safety with $30,000 in funding from the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF). Port Ed. volunteer firefighters are seen in Sept. 2022 a fundraising barbeque they hosted. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Firefighters on Haida Gwaii will be kept safer with their share of $6.3 million being allocated for equipment and training to bolster emergency response in the community, the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness announced on Feb. 16.

Masset received $19,218 for equipment upgrades; Daajing Giids, $29,878 for training and equipment and $29,994 for Sandspit for equipment.

“Our local volunteer firefighters put their own lives on the line to keep people safe, not to mention dedicating a lot of time and energy in training and maintaining their skills,” Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast said.

“This funding will help fire departments to upgrade their equipment and training so they can respond quickly to fires and meet the unique needs of our rural and remote communities.”

The program is distributing money to 114 local governments, First Nations, volunteer and composite fire departments. Composite fire departments have a mix of paid staff and volunteers.

“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,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “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.”

Other Northern B.C. fire departments are benefiting from the funding distribution. Also included is $30,000 for Port Edward; Smithers, $29,971 for training and equipment; Telkwa, $30,000 for replacement turnout gear; new Hazelton, $25,000 for gear upgrades and Vanderhoof, $9,998 for portable radios to improve communications systems.

“Volunteer and composite fire departments are vital public safety partners in B.C.’s local and First Nations communities,” said Brian Godlonton, B.C.’s fire commissioner. “This funding for new equipment and training will support dedicated fire crews as they continue their important work in keeping communities safe.

More than $111 million has been distributed to 1,300 projects helping to mitigate and prepare for disasters and climate-related emergencies through the CEPF program since 2017. The funding runs from several streams, including public notification and evacuation planning, emergency support services, and extreme heat risk mapping, assessment and planning.

K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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