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B.C. announces funding to help communities with emergency preparedness

By Pippa Norman

The B.C. government is providing more than $880,000 in funding to 19 communities to help with emergency preparedness.

The province announced Wednesday that the money, through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, will go towards helping these communities improve evacuation plans and local emergency alerting systems.

“Recent wildfires in remote regions of B.C. have put communities at risk of being cut off from the rest of the province, highlighting the need for good, advanced planning to ensure residents are able to evacuate safely,” Bowinn Ma, minister of emergency management and climate readiness, said in a statement.

“We also know that First Nations and local governments have the most up-to-date information to provide to people to keep them safe. These funds will help ensure British Columbians can leave the area safely when a disaster hits, and will improve emergency notification, alerts and communication to people during emergencies.”

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Projects receiving funding include the development of a local emergency alerting system for the community in the Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation, improvements to the District of North Vancouver’s evacuation plans, and a review of the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s evacuation routes and modes of transportation.

“Cowichan Valley Regional District and Municipal Emergency Management relies on grant funding to improve modernization of services and ensure safe, compassionate community support during an emergency,” said Aaron Stone, board chair for the district. “The development of evacuation-route plans can minimize distress to the community during a highly stressful emergency event and assist hard-working emergency-support organizations by increasing awareness of safe and timely routes to evacuation centres.”

Other communities receiving funding include Fraser Valley Regional District, City of Burnaby, Thompson-Nicola Regional District, North Okanagan Regional District and 12 others.

The Community Emergency Preparedness Fund supports projects by First Nations and local governments with the goal of improving their response to extreme weather events, such as floods and wildfires, that are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change.

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