Streamlined training for volunteers and new funding for Emergency Support Services will better support evacuees in Castlegar

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CASTLEGAR – New Democrat MLA Katrine Conroy says more Emergency Support Services (ESS) responders in Castlegar will be prepared to provide support to evacuees during emergencies thanks to new streamlined training and increased ESS funding.

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

The provincial government is launching a one-day training model for ESS responders in response to feedback from communities and input from the Premier’s Expert Task Force on Emergencies starting May 4. The new training condenses the current week-long training model, allowing people to rapidly become trained as an ESS responder during emergencies, which will make the training more accessible for many people who want to be volunteers. The course will prepare new ESS responders to provide trauma-informed and culturally safe support both in-person or by phone, which will help provide more ESS responders across B.C. in places that might not have a large volunteer capacity.

The government is also supporting almost 100 local ESS projects with more than $3.27 million through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF). Funding will help communities expand their capacity to provide ESS, as well as support the modernization of their ESS program to include more digital and remote support options.

Castlegar is receiving $18,564.50

The CEPF helps communities to better prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate-related emergencies by funding local projects and initiatives in several categories. These include disaster-risk reduction and climate adaptation, public notification and evacuation-route planning, and emergency operations centre equipment and training. The provincial government has invested $369 million into the CEPF since its establishment in 2017. Approximately $176 million has been provided to First Nations and local governments through the CEPF for more than 1,800 projects. This includes over $13.5 million to support local ESS teams.

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