Two Alberni Valley rescue services have received community gaming grants meant for public safety and conservation.
The Alberni Valley Rescue Society has received $40,000 in public safety grant funding, while the Bamfield Volunteer Fire Department was granted $15,000. The Pacific Rim Marine Search and Rescue Society out of Ucluelet also received $40,000.
These are three of 132 non-profit organizations providing emergency and lifesaving services that will share $6.3 million of new funding in 2020-21 to deliver programs province wide. These organizations include search and rescue, disaster relief and emergency preparedness resources. The grants were announced Feb. 9 by Josie Osborne, B.C. Minister of Municipal Affairs.
The Bamfield VFD will put their grant money toward purchasing equipment such as handheld radios and upgrading Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), Chief Phil Lavoie said. The department will also use the funding to cover some firefighter training costs.
The AVRS will put the grant money, which they receive every year, toward operating costs, search manager Dave Poulsen said. The rescue squad is made up of volunteers trained in ground search and rescue with specialties such as swiftwater, rope rescue, helicopter operations, light urban search and rescue and civil emergency services. Its members also promote outdoor safety education and advocacy within the community.
There is never a charge for search and rescue service in B.C., which makes grants such as this one a vital operational component.
Community gaming grants provide annual funding to approximately 5,000 organizations in B.C., including arts and culture groups, sports, environment, public safety and human and social services, as well as parent advisory councils in schools. There has been no change to the community gaming grants program budget for 2020-21 despite economic restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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