Heading into the holiday season, the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) and BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA) have each received $250,000 in gaming grants to support their operations and public safety efforts.
However, the gift they really want this year can only come from you - getting the right gear, training and information before going into the backcountry.
The CAC produces daily avalanche forecasts for most of the mountainous regions in western Canada, outside national parks - close to 250,000 square kilometres. The BCSARA supports more than 2,500 search-and-rescue volunteers in more than 80 communities. Both groups support backcountry safety public education efforts in order reduce deaths and injuries.
This gaming grant funding is part of $4.1 million for search and rescue, firefighting and other emergency-related organizations confirmed so far and detailed in the backgrounder that follows.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton -
"The Canadian Avalanche Centre and BC Search and Rescue Association, along with their membership, do tremendous work educating people about safe practices when heading into the winter backcountry - work that saves lives. We encourage everyone to listen to these experts: get the gear, get the training, check the forecasts and leave a plan."
"The B.C. government is committed to supporting public safety throughout the province and gaming grants enhance the ability of the diverse public safety organizations in our communities, where it matters most."
Gilles Valade, CAC executive director -
"We've seen a steady downward trend in the number of avalanche fatalities over the past ten years. This is especially significant when we consider the tremendous increase in winter backcountry use over that same time period. This funding allows us to continue to provide our public avalanche warning service as well as our public education efforts."
"The goal of the CAC is to ensure that everyone going into avalanche terrain carries essential safety gear-a transceiver, probe and shovel-and knows how to use it, has taken an Avalanche Skills Training course, and checks the avalanche forecast before heading out."
Don Bindon, BC SARA president -
"Search and Rescue volunteers respond to more than 1,000 incidents of lost or injured people every year in the B.C. wilderness, more than the rest of Canada combined. Through BCSARA, this funding will continue to support training and education for our dedicated volunteers."
"Our teams know first-hand the importance of education. Making sure you leave a trip plan and sticking to it when exploring B.C.'s backcountry in the winter can mean the difference between life and death if you get lost or injured."
- According to research looking at coroners' statistics, an average of 10 persons die each year in B.C. while engaged in winter activities like skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling. Another 15 or more persons die each year from hypothermia or exposure to cold.
- The foundation of CAC's public avalanche warning service is built on information submitted by an extensive network of avalanche professionals. This data allows the CAC to provide backcountry users with a forecast of the avalanche and snowpack conditions.
- Enrolment in Avalanche Skills Training courses co-ordinated through the CAC continues to climb. Last year, close to 7,000 people took that two-day course.
- B.C. also supports the CAC with $255,000 in funding through Emergency Management BC and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. In addition, funding is provided to the CAC to cover Special Avalanche Warning Bulletins at a cost of $2,500 per bulletin four to six times per year.
- The BCSARA enhances the provision of volunteer search and rescue services in the province by facilitating access to funding, educating the general public on outdoor safety, and providing volunteers with a common link to information and resources.
- Last year, the Province supported BC search-and-rescue-affiliated groups with a total of $7 million in funding through training, gaming grants, liability and operational reimbursement.
For a one-stop shop of information and links on backcountry safety, visit Emergency Info BC: http://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/campaigns/backcountry-safety.html
For information on avalanche training or to view avalanche bulletins, visit http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/
To find a search and rescue team near you or for information on public safety efforts, visit www.bcsara.com/
A backgrounder follows.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
$4.1 million supports public safety in British Columbia
More than $4.1 million in funding has been confirmed so far for search and rescue, firefighting and other emergency-related organizations. This includes:
Oliver Osoyoos Search and Rescue Society - $8,300
Willowbrook Volunteer Fire Department - $32,500
Golden & District Search and Rescue Association - $35,000
Revelstoke Canine Search & Rescue - $13,800
Golden Volunteer Firefighters Society - $225,000
Nicola Valley Search and Rescue - $10,000
Hayes Creek Firefighters' Association - $8,300
Princeton Ground Search & Rescue Society - $18,000
Watch Lake-North Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department - $57,000
Logan Lake Search and Rescue Society - $12,000
Wells Gray Search and Rescue Society - $26,000
Canadian Ski Patrol System - Pacific Division - $10,000
Canadian Ski Patrol Ogopogo Zone - $25,000
Central Okanagan Search & Rescue Society - $33,200
Fernie Volunteer Ski Patrol Society - $6,180
Sparwood Search & Rescue Society - $56,500
Castlegar Society for Search & Rescue - $73,500
South Columbia Search and Rescue Society - $63,000
Rossland and District Search and Rescue Society - $84,500
West Creston Fire Protection Society - $3,900
Nelson Search and Rescue Society - $47,000
Shuswap Lifeboat Society - $28,500
Shuswap Volunteer Search & Rescue Society - $43,000
Orchard City Amateur Radio Club - $13,200
Kelowna Snowmobile Club - $18,000
Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley:
Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue Society - $80,000
Mission-Dard Search & Rescue Society - $24,250
Royal Life Saving Society Canada - BC & Yukon - $20,000
Chilliwack Search and Rescue Society - $30,000
Coquihalla Summit Snowmobile Club - $12,000
Kent-Harrison Search & Rescue Team Society - $41,000
Sunshine Valley Volunteer Fire Department - $15,000
Coquitlam Search and Rescue Society - $50,000
New Westminster Amateur Radio Club - $6,600
Fraser Power & Sail Squadron - $10,000
Delta Marine Rescue Society - $67,000
Roberts Bank Lifeboat Station - Delta Society - $28,600
Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue Society - $90,000
North Shore Rescue Team Society - $72,500
Decourcy Island Community Association - $6,950
Canadian Power & Sail Seymour Squadron - $5,000
Gibsons Marine Rescue Association - $100,000
Strait of Georgia Marine Rescue Society - $17,000
Richmond Marine Rescue Society - $23,200
Richmond Amateur Radio Club - $3,700
Surrey Search and Rescue Society - $56,000
Semiahmoo Peninsula Marine Rescue Society - $50,000
Vancouver Emergency Community Telecommunications Organization - $18,550
Canadian Lifeboat Institution Inc - $22,000
North Shore Lifeboat Society - $57,500
Black Tusk Snowmobile Club - $18,000
West Vancouver Marine Search & Rescue Society - $48,500
Howe Sound Marine Rescue Society - $31,800
Pemberton District Search and Rescue Society - $51,000
Squamish Search and Rescue Society - $72,000
Powder Mountain Snowmobile & Outdoor Recreation Club - $15,000
Big Lake Community Association - $25,000
South Cariboo Search & Rescue Society - $20,000
Chimney and Felker Lakes Landholders Association 1991 - $30,000
Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department Society - $10,000
Houston Search & Rescue - $5,000
Topley Fire Protection Society - $22,500
Burns Lake Search and Rescue Society - $14,500
Prince Rupert Marine Rescue Society - $25,000
Massett Marine Rescue Society - $25,000
Prince George Search and Rescue Society - $60,000
Prince George Regional Highway Rescue Society - $40,000
Kitimat Marine Rescue Society - $95,000
Terrace Search and Rescue Society - $39,000
Bulkley Valley Amateur Radio Society - $15,000
Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue Society - $25,000
Atlin Search & Rescue Society - $27,000
Bamfield Volunteer Fire Department - $15,000
Port Alberni Marine Rescue Society - $31,000
Alberni Valley Rescue Squad - $38,000
Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society, Unit 59 - $11,000
Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society - $100,000
Mesachie Lake Volunteer Fire Department - $11,000
Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio Society - $7,500
Caycuse Volunteer Fire Department - $5,000
Juan De Fuca Marine Rescue Society - $57,000
Otter Point Volunteer Firefighters Association - $13,000
Nanaimo Marine Rescue Society - $58,000
Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association (Nara) - $7,500
Ladysmith & District Marine Rescue Society - $41,000
Campbell River Marine Rescue Society - $7,000
Port Alice Marine Rescue Society - $93,900
Port McNeill Marine Rescue Society - $121,000
Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society - $62,500
Nanaimo Search & Rescue Society - $81,000
Lantzville Volunteer Fire Fighters Association - $14,800
Saanich Inlet Lifeboat Society - $22,000
Gulf Islands Marine Rescue Society - $40,000
Salish Sea Marine Rescue Society - $17,000
Salt Spring Island Search and Rescue Society - $19,000
Saanich Marine Rescue Society - $19,000
Victoria Marine Rescue Society - $70,500
Westcoast Amateur Radio Association - $4,500
Canadian Avalanche Centre - $250,000
British Columbia Search and Rescue Association - $250,000
Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association - $70,000
Total - $4.1 million
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice