More than 100 local governments and First Nations will benefit from provincial funding to support and enhance the work of local emergency operations centres.
“We know significant costs are associated with emergency planning, mitigation, response and recovery for communities – including at local emergency operations centres. Emergency operations centres are the hub of response and recovery during an emergency, staffed by our hard-working partners in local governments and First Nations,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “These projects made possible through our Community Emergency Preparedness Fund will help better protect and keep people safe in the event of an emergency.”
Nearly $3 million through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF) will go to local governments and First Nations throughout B.C. and will assist in purchasing and installing equipment and supplies to maintain or improve emergency operations centres as well as training and exercises to increase capacity.
“For a small district, like Metchosin, that relies heavily on volunteers, community emergency preparedness funding is critical to the strength and fortitude of our emergency operations,” said Marie-Térèse Little, mayor, District of Metchosin. “The supplies purchased through CEPF will make significant improvements to our community resiliency, further support volunteer efforts and training, and promote a safer response for all involved.”
Emergency operations centres are an essential part of emergency response, where representatives come together to co-ordinate actions and resources, and support people responding on the ground.
“Funding for emergency preparedness is a wise investment that directly benefits our community. It enables us to develop robust emergency response plans, acquire essential resources, and enhance our readiness to handle a wide range of emergencies,” said Trent Bossence, fire chief and emergency program co-ordinator with the District of Kitimat. “With this funding, we can strengthen our community's capacity to protect lives, minimize damage and recover swiftly, ensuring a safer and more resilient future for all.”
Funding will go to 78 projects benefiting more than 100 communities throughout B.C., such as:
- monitors, digital displays and other equipment to improve the quality of operations for the City of Kitimat emergency operations centre;
- comprehensive training program for Leq'á:mel First Nation emergency management team volunteers;
- upgrading computers, a new information officer and liaison officer kit, including a one-day tabletop training session at the Doig River First Nation;
- storage area (trailer or container) with shelving for emergency equipment and upgrades to technology, such as laptops, portable antennae, hand-held GPS and mapping capabilities for the District of Metchosin;
- developing an emergency operations centre geographic information system (GIS) for situational awareness, emergency operations and public information for the City of Nelson;
- new equipment, supplies and training for a new and permanent emergency operations centre in Armstrong; and
- emergency equipment and supplies, as well as equipment training to support emergency operations centre activities for the Samahquam Nation.
“The Community Emergency Preparedness Fund has enabled the City of Armstrong to enhance its emergency preparedness, response and ability to recover by enabling us to build capacity through the purchasing of equipment and by providing training opportunities,” said Joe Cramer, mayor, Armstrong. “The contribution of $30,000 will make a significant impact on our community for years to come.”
In February 2023, the Province committed a further $180 million to CEPF, bringing the total investment to $369 million since it was established in 2017. Approximately $116 million through CEPF has been approved for First Nations and local governments for almost 1,500 projects that help communities mitigate and prepare for disasters and climate-related emergencies.
For information about the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, visit the Union of BC Municipalities’ website: https://www.ubcm.ca/funding-programs/local-government-program-services/community-emergency-preparedness-fund
A backgrounder follows.