The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) has been approved for six grants totalling $45,425 for firefighting and personal protective equipment (PPE) for local volunteer fire departments (VFD).
The funding comes through a partnership grant between the Canadian Red Cross and the Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC (FCABC), with support from the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), according to a media release from the RDN.
“These grants enable the RDN to put new equipment in the hands of our dedicated volunteer firefighters, as well as enhance emergency services training and best practices to better respond to emergencies,” said Tyler Brown, RDN chair. “We are grateful to the granting agencies for their support and helping the RDN be even more resilient and responsive when faced with an emergency.”
Through the Red Cross partnership grants, Bow Horn Bay VFD ($7,235) will purchase a new forestry-mounted fire suppression pump; Coombs-Hilliers VFD ($6,780) and Errington VFD ($6,640) will share use of four new pumps, Extension VFD ($10,760) and Dashwood VFD ($9,310) will purchase new PPE, tools and equipment and Nanoose VFD ($4,700) will purchase new tools and equipment. The grants will help provide the departments with the resources they need for everyday incident response as well as to respond to wildfires.
The RDN also received a $18,200 Community Emergency Preparedness grant for training and exercise enhancement, which is funded by the province and administered by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).
This grant will enable emergency operations centre (EOC) staff to reinforce a common level of knowledge, skills and abilities through educational sessions and a tabletop exercise to brainstorm ideas, train personnel in their roles, make connections, identify dependencies and resource gaps and examine how emergency plans are used. The EOC training and exercise series will offer local scenarios based on actual emergencies, regional hazards and lessons learned.
The RDN provides emergency support services through its EOC. The EOC was activated last year in response to the COVID pandemic, for flooding risks this past winter and most recently to respond to the unprecedented heat wave, according to the release.
The RDN said it has received $503,724 in grants this year towards enhancing emergency services, including training, emergency support services, evacuation route planning, wildfire resiliency planning, fuels management planning and fire services equipment.
Continuous learning through training, practice and planning is a critical factor in emergency preparedness. Grant funding supports the RDN through knowledge building, skill development and supplies, increasing the region’s emergency and disaster response preparedness.