Emergency preparedness funding earmarked for Vernon, OKIB

Both communities receiving $25K from the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund

The City of Vernon and the Okanagan Indian Band have received provincial funding to improve their emergency support services in the event of a disaster, such as last summer’s White Rock Lake wildfire which destroyed a number of structures in the OKIB community along Westside Road. (Terry Lawson/Facebook)

The City of Vernon and the Okanagan Indian Band have received provincial funding to improve their emergency support services in the event of a disaster, such as last summer’s White Rock Lake wildfire which destroyed a number of structures in the OKIB community along Westside Road. (Terry Lawson/Facebook)

Provincial funding will help Vernon and the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) prepare for future floods, wildfires and other natural disasters.

On Friday the B.C. government announced more than $1.9 million will be invested to improve emergency support services (ESS) throughout the province.

Vernon will be receiving $25,000 to purchase equipment for an emergency reception centre. The OKIB — one of 50 First Nations receiving funding — will receive $25,000 to put towards capacity-building projects.

Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu said the funding will help keep people safe in the event of an emergency. It could also provide some peace of mind for a community that experienced the White Rock Lake wildfire up close last summer.

“With our changing climate, we should be prepared for more intense and frequent extreme weather events,” Sandhu said. “I am pleased to see this investment help strengthen emergency support services and preparedness in Vernon.”

Communities can use the funds to build up their ESS capacity before a disaster strikes. Local governments will use the funds for volunteer recruitment, retention and training, as well as purchasing equipment.

The ESS funding is part of the $189 million Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, administered through the Union of BC Municipalities.

“It’s clearer than ever that emergencies can strike at any time, and it’s so important for communities to be prepared and ready to respond before they do,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This funding will support First Nations and local governments to expand and build on their supports and services for evacuees and get ahead of what might come.”

READ MORE: Armstrong preparing for floods, fires

READ MORE: Online fundraisers set up for tenants who lost everything in Abbotsford apartment fire


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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