BC Deploys Emergency Preparedness Funds for First Nations and Municipalities – Coast Mountain News

More than 50 BC First Nations and local governments are receiving their share of more than $1.9 million in provincial emergency preparedness funding.

Funding will be used to build Emergency Support Services (ESS) capacity in these communities through the purchase of equipment, recruitment, retention and training of volunteers.

British Columbia Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said it is now “clearer than ever” that emergencies can happen at any time. “It’s so important that communities are prepared and ready to respond before they do. »

He said the funds will help First Nations and local governments expand support for evacuees and “predict what might happen.”

The funding is part of a $189 million Community Emergency Preparedness Fund administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) for programs for residents, First Nations and local governments .

Province rolling out three new streams this year to better prepare for emergencies with focus on public notification and evacuation planning, extreme heat hazard mapping, assessment, disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation, including flood risk reduction.

Funding is also being reopened for fire departments, Indigenous cultural safety training, and emergency operations centers.

BC Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice said the province has funded more than 1,000 First Nations and local government projects through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund since 2017.

The province’s 2022 budget includes $2.1 billion for communities to rebuild after recent disasters and prepare for the future. British Columbia is investing $110 million of this funding in addition to previous contributions, for a total of $189 million.

Bulkley-Nechako Regional District Board Chair Gerry Thiessen said the funding is “essential to the continued development and modernization” of community emergency support services.

He said more supplies will make a significant difference to volunteers and emergency support services in the area.

These volunteers “are the first point of contact” for evacuated residents in the event of an emergency, Thiessen said.

“Ensuring they are prepared and well-supported to provide compassionate and effective services is key to providing evacuees with the support they need in a stressful situation.

Communities across British Columbia can apply for funding through this program for local “priority projects” designed to help reduce and prepare for climate-related disasters and emergencies.

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