Okanagan communities receive provincial funding to improve Emergency Support Services

Over $1.9 million in provincial emergency preparedness funding will be shared among more than 50 First Nations and local governments to improve emergency support services (ESS) in their communities.

The ministry made the announcement on Friday, stating that the funding will support communities’ ESS through equipment purchases and volunteer recruitment, retention, and training.

“It’s clearer than ever that emergencies can strike at any time, and it’s so important for communities to be prepared and ready to respond before they do,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth in a press release.

“This funding will support First Nations and local governments to expand and build on their supports and services for evacuees and get ahead of what might come.”

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The funds will be distributed across the province. Vernon will receive $25,000 to equip the emergency reception centre and the Okanagan Indian Band will receive the same amount for a capacity-building project.

The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District, which includes Keremeos, Princeton, Summerland, and Osoyoos, will receive $89,750 for ESS modernization and training. The City of Penticton will receive $17,000 to enhance capacity based on five months of deployment in 2021 and Oliver will be receiving $18,625 to help build local capacity now to provide ESS when a disaster strikes.

“We are so very well aware these days how important it is that communities like Oliver are ready to put Emergency Support Services into action as soon as possible when disasters happen,” said MLA for Boundary-Similkameen Roly Russell in a press release.

“This funding will help with crucial planning and preparation to help local governments be nimble, so people can get support they need when they need it.”

The Community Emergency Preparedness Fund is a suite of programs divided into several funding streams. The province is introducing three new streams this year to help communities better prepare for emergencies and the changing climate.

Budget 2022 provides $2.1 billion to support the recovery of communities to build back better from recent disasters, and to strengthen defences to make communities across B.C. are protected from future disasters.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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