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HomeRegional NewsNewsProvince allocates $18,000 to improve Emergency Support Services in Castlegar

Province allocates $18,000 to improve Emergency Support Services in Castlegar

The province says the investment will help with training, recruiting, and purchasing new ESS equipment.

The Emergency Support Service is a provincially funded program administered by local governments to provide temporary support for individuals and families unable to meet their needs when they are evacuated.

Today (Friday), the province revealed a $3.3 million investment to support 100 local ESS projects through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF).

The province said in a press release that this funding will help communities expand their capacity to provide ESS and support the modernization of their ESS program to include more digital and remote support options.

Additionally, the province revealed it is rolling out a new streamlined training model for ESS responders, condensing the current one-week training model to just one day.

The province said the course will prepare new ESS responders to provide in-person and phone support to evacuees, train recruits on how to conduct trauma-informed needs assessments and how to offer support in a culturally safe manner.

The program, launching May 4, will be available online and in person, with the online option offered both independently and instructor-led.

“Last summer, we heard from people who wanted to help evacuees but faced barriers in getting trained to do so,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

“We’re acting on lessons learned by rolling out a new one-day training option to enable more people to respond in times of need, helping to ensure that evacuees are supported in an effective and timely manner.”

Additionally, the $3.3 million investment will also help BC communities purchase ESS equipment, such as headsets and trailers for mobile ESS reception centers in remote communities, and support the modernization of local ESS programs to offer remote support.

The province says this will help communities move to an online ESS registration program and allow direct payments to evacuees.

The City of Castlegar is set to receive $18,564 of the $3.3 million. Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy said the funding and streamlined program will help ensure the city is prepared to assist community members, and neighbours, during emergencies.

“The ESS staff and volunteers who respond to take care of people during emergencies play an invaluable role in our community. We’re helping to expand and modernize these services so they can provide even better support when our friends and neighbors have to evacuate.”

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