(Black Press Media files)

Volunteer, First Nations fire departments get $5M for training, gear

Money was part of the province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund

First Nations and volunteer fire departments around B.C. will get $5 million from the province for equipment and training, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced Friday.

Farnworth, who was in the Peachland along with Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice, said the money was part of the province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund.

The $5 million is in addition to the $33.5 million the province has already allocated for disaster response and recovery in the province.

Farnworth said he wanted to “level the playing field” for smaller fire departments. Both fully and partially volunteer fire departments, along with ones in First Nations communities, will be eligible for funding.

“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,” Farnworth said.

The Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia applauded the move.

“We are encouraged by this provincial initiative that will assist departments to better protect their communities,” said president Phil Lemire.

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