The Oliver – Osoyoos and Princeton Search and Rescue teams are both among the recipients of $6 million in funding.
Each team’s portion of funding from the provincial government is expected to be about $63,000 on average, according to a press release.
“Search and Rescue teams across the area do so much to keep us safe and are so important when we need to call upon them; this funding will help them continue their critical work helping people when they need it,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen.
The funding will support the purchase of lifesaving rescue equipment, essential training, protective equipment for volunteers and administration costs, such as insurance.
This is the second year of this annual funding agreement between the province and BC Search and Rescue Association, which is the only agreement of its kind in Canada. Prior to this agreement, the provincial government provided more than $33 million in grants to BCSARA over six years.
GSAR groups provide critical support to agencies, such as police and BC Emergency Health Services.
“The sustainable funding provided by the province is vital for GSAR groups across B.C.,” said Chris Mushumanski, BCSARA president. “It funds important equipment, our programs, and supports the volunteers after tough calls with our critical incident stress-management team. We appreciate this important investment in public safety as the busy season for searches, rescues and delivering evacuation notices is well underway.”
This annual funding is in addition to incident-related funding the government provides each year to cover operational search-and-rescue costs associated with rescues and training deployments.
This funding also supports key administrative and operational activities, including the outdoor education program AdventureSmart and mental-health supports for volunteers.
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