Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, today announced $5 million in one-time funding to provide essential supports and equipment renewals for the B.C. Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA).
The funds are part of over $80 million in emergency preparedness funding announced by the Province on March 15.
This grant will provide essential supports to first responders (such as critical incident stress management programs and technical certifications), and fund the continuation of the SAR prevention program, AdventureSmart. It will also support the acquisition, maintenance and upgrading of equipment, including communications and rescue equipment.
This funding is in addition to a $500,000 BCSARA grant announced on March 15 to fund a pilot project for the use of Public Safety Broadband Network Deployable Systems, which are basically portable communications networks. These networks will aid emergency responders in locations where conventional communication infrastructure is damaged or non-existent.
Last year, the Province also provided a $10-million grant to BCSARA to help bolster training, administrative support and equipment renewals, which they are allocating over a two-year period to search and rescue groups throughout B.C.
In addition, the Province provides operational costs for BCSARA training, equipment and all deployments, which totalled more than $9 million last year. This includes helicopter contracting and fuelling, mileage and meal costs for volunteers, liability insurance, workers compensation benefits and BCSARA administrative costs.
On March 15, the Province announced over $80 million in flood protection and prevention, seismic safety, local government emergency preparedness, search and rescue, and fire prevention. Some of the projects, which will better protect public safety and aid search and rescue groups in B.C., include:
Canada Task Force 1 (Heavy Urban Search and Rescue or HUSAR) – $1 million:
- This funding will replace aging equipment, maintain equipment and enable team skills training. Based in Vancouver, these first responders are trained to provide search and rescue services in large-scale, urban-building collapses.
Fire Chiefs Association of BC (FCABC) – $1 million:
- At present, Road Rescue services in B.C. do not have a high-level governance framework to support training and equipment replacement. These funds will support the development of a provincewide governance framework and the full implementation of a new model that will include equipment purchases and training for teams.
The Salvation Army – B.C. Division – $700,000:
- This funding will support the provision and retrofitting of The Salvation Army’s mobile feeding vans, and the delivery of mass feeding training seminars and emergency social services training for volunteers and emergency program coordinators in local communities. This training will enrich the long-term emergency preparedness and resilience planning of local communities.
Avalanche Canada – $500,000:
- Avalanche Canada will update its Mountain Information Network by testing, piloting and expanding the network’s avalanche-reporting capabilities and snowpack-modelling work. Community collaboration and an increase in monitoring will help improve avalanche-risk forecasts and the general public’s avalanche awareness.
PEP Air funding – $100,000:
- Currently, PEP Air relies on verbal position updates and manual maps to estimate aircraft positions and locations of interest when searching for overdue or downed aircraft, or in supporting ground search and rescue teams. This funding will enable PEP Air to purchase flight tracking and mission management tools and equipment to improve operational safety and effectiveness.
Canadian Red Cross – $100,000:
- The Canadian Red Cross will procure and strategically pre-position disaster relief supplies (survival blankets, temporary shelters, cots, wool blankets, pillows, rain ponchos, hygiene products, etc.) at Canadian Red Cross facilities throughout the province. Supplies will remain in B.C., and will be accessible on short notice to Red Cross group lodgings, shelters and local government Emergency Social Service programs.
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness –
“We are fortunate here in B.C. to have the support of more than 2,500 volunteers across 80 search and rescue groups. These everyday heroes brave the harshest of our province’s elements and landscapes to act as a beacon of hope to those who are lost or injured, and the families left waiting at home. I am so proud to announce this funding, which is part of almost $150 million our government has invested in emergency partners and emergency preparedness over the past two years.”
Chris Kelly, president, BC Search and Rescue Association –
“We are grateful for this additional support from the Province, on top of the over $9 million in training, equipment and response support last year, and the grant of $10-million to further reduce funding pressures for search and rescue groups across B.C. The disbursements made to our groups last year had an immediate and profound effect, allowing for major projects to move ahead and for the purchase of required equipment and training. This year’s disbursements and the new funding announced will continue to fill gaps and ease pressures on the 2,500 volunteers in the province.”
- In February 2017, the Province provided over $1 million in funding to introduce a $3,000 tax break to support volunteer search and rescue groups and firefighters. The provincial credit, when combined with a federal credit, means upward of $600 a year goes back into the wallets of these well-deserving heroes.
March 15 announcement of over $80 million in emergency preparedness: http://ow.ly/HLN4309YrGO
BC Search and Rescue Association: http://www.bcsara.com
PreparedBC provides resources on how to build and emergency kit and how to prepare your family and community for emergencies: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/preparedbc
Follow on Twitter: @EmergencyInfoBC and @PreparedBC