South Okanagan emergency services gets funding boost | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan emergency services gets funding boost

Penticton Deputy Fire Chief Chris Forster asked City Council to approve an application for grant funding of $25,000 from the Union of B.C. Municipalties for expansion of the city's emergency social services at today's council meeting, Nov. 21, 2017.
November 21, 2017 - 5:30 PM

PENTICTON - The Penticton Fire Department is seeking more funding for the local Emergency Social Services program following years of increasing need, from both within the city and throughout the region.

Deputy Fire Chief Chris Forster requested and received council approval for a grant application totalling $25,000 from the Union of B.C. Municipalities at this afternoon’s council meeting, Nov. 21.

The grant will be put towards equipment, training and recruitment of more staff for the local emergency services.

The city would be expected to put up 10 per cent of the funding through in-kind funding.

Forster said the centre needs to be enhanced in terms of more equipment and supplies.

Training of existing staff has been also been delayed and recruitment is needed to increase the number of emergency social services staff to adequate levels.

Forster said the 20 year old service used to provide locally oriented assistance in situations such as structure fires, but has since grown to handle much larger incidents such as last year’s wildfires on a regional and provincial scale.

Last summer’s wildfires put strains on the organization as Penticton provided assistance to fire refugee victims from as far away as Williams Lake.

Coun. Helena Konanz asked if Penticton’s emergency services should be partially funded by the regional district, since they were now providing assistance regionally.

Forster said the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen was also applying for funding, adding Penticton’s program ran on volunteer efforts who received funding from government organizations, with no financing coming from the city.

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