Nicholson Fire Department. (Facebook)

Nicholson Fire Department. (Facebook)

Support could be on the way for fire departments in Columbia Shuswap

Columbia Shuswap Regional District votes to support grant that would help rural firefighters

Backsides on chairs and boots on the ground will be the order of the day for 13 Columbia Shuswap Regional District fire departments if a grant application is successful.

Directors at the CSRD board of directors Nov. 24 meeting voted unanimously to support an application of up to $390,000 for training resources, and firefighting equipment.

The Community Emergency Preparedness Fund administered by UBCM for the Volunteer and Composite Fire Departments Equipment and Training Grant, provides up to $30,000 per fire department to help small rural fire departments, including Nicholson, meet the demands of new training requirements instituted by the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) in the new firefighter minimum training standards.

The grant also provides for the purchase of new equipment to meet the growing demands placed on volunteer departments.

The CSRD’s 13 volunteer fire departments are funded through eight individual budgets. While fire departments may be structured differently, all structure firefighters in B.C. are required to meet minimum training standards.

The intent of this funding is to build the resiliency of volunteer and composite fire departments in preparing for and responding to emergencies through the purchase of new or replacement equipment and to facilitate the delivery of training.

“The regional district has been developing a regional culture that firefighters from all CSRD departments can recognize and integrate with,” said Derek Sutherland, team leader of protective services, who notes the Nicholson Fire Department will receive boots, a digital white board, desk and chairs for study space if the grant is successful. “We expect small rural fire services to be as professional as municipal fire services and it’s important that we provide them with the resources to create an adequate learning environment to facilitate that professional expectation.”

The grant application includes a proposal for the purchase of boots for that can be worn while working around the hall and while actioning wildland fires that are threatening communities protected by fire departments.

The boots currently in use are ideally suited to working structure fires, but they are heavy and hot in normal working conditions or while working in the bush.

The CSRD training program meets or exceeds the requirements of the OFC, and the CSRD is encouraging each fire department to train consistently at the hall level.

Meanwhile, the Nicholson Volunteer Fire Department has openings for paid on-call firefighter recruits to help protect the community. If you are interested, email NicholsonVFD@csrd.bc.ca.

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