The B.C. government is providing $1 million in emergency rescue support for rural and remote communities throughout the province.
The Office of the Fire Commissioner has partnered with the Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC (FCABC) to launch the Road Rescue Grant program. This one-time grant will allow organizations in B.C. to apply for up to $50,000 to fund equipment or train emergency responders in road rescue.
“British Columbia is fortunate to have a network of dedicated and skilled emergency personnel who support public safety by responding to incidents on our highways,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Road rescue personnel answer the call for help in some of the most remote regions, going beyond the borders of their local government rescue areas to provide emergency support for accidents wherever they are needed.”
The grant program was established to support B.C. fire departments, fire brigades, fire societies, search and rescue groups, and First Nations communities registered with the road rescue program. The funding is provided by the Province and administered by the FCABC. The deadline for submitting a grant application to the FCABC is noon on Dec. 11, 2020.
“We’re proud to be able to work with the Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC and other groups to provide support,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “We are so lucky to have a dedicated network of emergency responders provincewide who help people when they’re in trouble on our roads and highways.”
Highway rescue services within local areas are funded through local taxes. The Province provides support to road rescue providers that are willing and able to respond outside their local government rescue service areas by offsetting response costs and providing WorkSafeBC coverage. This funding is intended to provide additional support for training and equipment purchases.
“Receiving additional funding from the Road Rescue Grant program will greatly support our small community here in the District of Mackenzie,” said Jamie Guise, fire chief. “We have seen increased costs over the past few years, due in part to higher call volumes and greater costs related to protecting our members from COVID-19. We thank the Province for this support, which will allow us to invest in road rescue extrication equipment to better support our first responders on the front lines.”
The Province continues to work with the FCABC on an enhanced governance framework to manage road rescue in British Columbia. The goal of this work is to find a path toward implementing a more functional funding, governance and operational model.