Ground search and rescue volunteers who drop what they are doing at a minutes notice to help those that are lost or injured in B.C. mountains and back-country, are getting a boost from the provincial government.
The provincial government is giving $10 million to be split among 80 ground search and rescue teams in a one-time funding to help bolster training, administrative support and equipment renewals.
“It’s a small army of 2,500 volunteers that comb the province’s back-country, rappel into steep ravines and weather the worst of the elements, while leaving behind the comforts of home to go seek and find those who are lost or injured,” said Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto. “Their selflessness is woven into the fabric of their service, and today’s investment continues on our commitment to strengthening them and the tapestry of public safety throughout the province.”
Yamamoto says the 10 million is on top of the 6.3 million the government provides each year.
There are over 2,500 volunteers embarking on 1,300 missions a year. The groups will be working on strengthening ground search and rescue across the province.
“The service that search and rescue groups provide in their communities is recognized as an invaluable asset to the people of this province and today we welcome the additional support of the B.C. government to help strengthen the work that’s being done,” said president of BC Search and Rescue Association Chris Kelly.
“While we continue to work with the province on the proposed alternate support model for search and rescue, this money will help relieve some of the funding pressures and provide for increased training and other tools for those who tirelessly serve as volunteers.”
— Naomi Yamamoto (@naomiyamamoto) January 27, 2016
Meanwhile the BC Search and Rescue Association has tried to get the province to sign onto a more stable funding model.
Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto says talks to get a permanent model are still a work-in-progress.
“We are endeavouring to get back to BC Search and Rescue this Spring with some recommendations that we can work on together.”