The District of Sicamous presents the Shuswap RCMSAR station with a $2,000 cheque to help purchase more COVID-19 protective equipment. (District of Sicamous Photo)

Sicamous marine search and rescue station receives money for COVID-19 protective equipment

The contribution comes as the station deals with the loss of a major donation

A $2,000 cheque from the District of Sicamous will help supply the Shuswap Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue with new personal protective equipment (PPE) aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Station Chief Fred Banham said the money, which is coming from the district’s COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fund, will be used to purchase face visors and lightweight coveralls which will help limit the possibility of spreading the virus while taking emergency medical calls. Banham said the new policy will be for used coveralls to be sealed in plastic bags and taken home by volunteers to be laundered in order to limit the possibility of spreading the virus between use and cleaning.

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The fund was brought in by the district to help local non-profits adapt their practices to the pandemic.

Also on the funding front, the marine search and rescue station is adjusting to its first summer without a sizable annual contribution. In previous years, Waterway Houseboats provided a cheque to the RCMSAR station ahead of the summer boating season. The 2019 donation presented in May of that year totalled $13,000, but by mid June the houseboat company was in receivership and had to shut down.

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Banham said the Waterway cheque was special to the station and was a big help to operations. He said the station is really missing it but fewer houseboats on the water could also lead to fewer calls, making it difficult to judge the full impact yet. Banham said it has certainly forced the station to think twice about what types of gear it’s possible to add to the rescue boat.

The RCMSAR station has responded to one emergency call so far this season. Banham said on Saturday, June 6 the station’s volunteers were called to provide medical assistance to a person on a houseboat and transport them to a waiting ambulance on shore.

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