The Topley Fire Protection Society is set to receive a grant of $100,000 as part of the B.C. Community Gaming Grant for 2020-2021.
The province is giving out a total of $11 million to several conservation and public safety organizations throughout the province. Of this, $6.3 million is being given to roughly 132 not-for-profit organizations providing emergency and lifesaving services and $4.8 million would be going to 138 environmental organizations.
Josie Osborne, minister of municipal affairs said in a news release, “This funding ensures community organizations can continue to provide programming to enhance public safety through emergency programs like search and rescue, and to steward and preserve our ecosystems for generations to come.”
Application for the funding, part of the BC Community Gaming Grant’s $140,000,000 allocated towards not-for-profit organizations annually, was made by the Topley fire department through the Public Safety category used to purchase equipment, and towards training opportunities.
“Covid-19 has made the last year challenging for most small fire departments, new policies and procedures had to be implemented in order to maintain a safe work place for the volunteers which has made training and responding a challenge. Extra personal protective equipment must be worn when responding to medical or motor vehicle incidents in order to protect the responders which can also be an extra financial burden that the department has to account for,” said Jason Blackwell, the regional fire chief.
The Topley fire department maintains roughly 20 members however, according to Blackwell, the membership tends to fluctuate as with any volunteer department. This year’s grant will be used towards new turnout gear, replacement air cylinders for their breathing apparatus, structural and wildland hose, wildland firefighting equipment, battery powered jaws of life, and some maintenance equipment for washing and drying their turnout gear.
”It is extremely beneficial for small departments like Topley to receive this grant funding. Because of their relatively small tax base they have a limited operating budget, therefore any additional funding can be extremely helpful,” said Blackwell.
Two Bulkley Valley not-for-profits, Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue and Bulkley Valley Amateur Radio Society are also among the recipients of the grant in northern B.C. for $56,000 and $5,900 each. Several organizations in Prince George like the Prince George Recycling & Environmental Action & Planning Society, Prince George Humane Society, Prince George Crime Stoppers Association, have also received funding under this grant. The North Peace Justice Society and the Northern Environmental Action Team in Fort St. John would also be receiving funding.