Volunteer and composite fire departments throughout B.C. will receive a $5-million boost for equipment and training through the Province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF), distributed through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).
This $5 million is part of a newly established funding stream to help eligible applicants in local government and First Nations communities build resiliency with new or replacement equipment and firefighter training. Eligible fire departments include local governments, First Nations communities and society-run departments.
“What we really want to do is to level the playing field for smaller volunteer and composite fire departments in B.C.’s local and First Nations communities,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “The smaller a department’s budget, the higher the priority in the allocation of these funds, so we can make sure these funds get to the communities that need them most.”
Previous provincial investments in CEPF were only open to local governments. This $5 million is part of an additional $36-million investment in the fund and part of an initiative by Emergency Management BC (EMBC) to increase resiliency across all communities in British Columbia and improve B.C.’s overall emergency management system.
“Emergency preparation should be a priority in all of our communities, and we need to collaborate to make that happen,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “Our government is working hard to build resiliency from the ground up in our emergency management system by helping ensure local governments and First Nations have the tools they need to be ready for all hazards.”
This new stream of CEPF funding is in addition to the $33.5 million that government targeted toward disaster response and recovery in communities across B.C. Funding streams include emergency support services, evacuation route planning, emergency operations centres and training, flood risk assessment, flood mapping and flood mitigation planning, and structural flood mitigation.
“The Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia applauds the announcement of funding being made available to volunteer and composite fire departments through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund,” said Phil Lemire, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia. “We are encouraged by this provincial initiative that will assist departments to better protect their communities.”
All funding streams of the CEPF now include First Nation communities.
“The First Nations’ Emergency Services Society looks forward to working with all Indigenous communities to help highlight the available grant funds through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund,” said Brent Langlois, executive director of the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society. “Collaborative approaches will build more resiliency for all communities.”
Specific details on program administration, such as funding distribution, application intake dates and application guides, will be discussed and finalized through EMBC’s Disaster Mitigation Unit and the UBCM local government program services section.
- In 2017, government announced the CEPF as suite of programs designed to enhance the resiliency of local governments and their residents.
- Since the September 2017 Budget update, communities and governments throughout B.C. have received $22 million through the CEPF, with another $11.5 million to be allocated for flood mitigation.
For more information about the CEPF, including program guidelines, go to: https://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/community-emergency-preparedness-fund.html
For a simplified Chinese translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/CEPF_Funding_NR_Simplified_Chinese.pdf