GUYSBOROUGH — Six local volunteer fire departments have received $103,279 under the provincial government’s latest Emergency Services Provider Fund.
The 2023-24 round, announced last week, includes: $16,945 to the Erinville Volunteer Fire Department towards the purchase of miscellaneous fire equipment; $17,480 to the Chedabucto Volunteer Fire Department for new personal protective equipment (PPE) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA); $20,000 to Goshen and Area Volunteer Fire Department for rescue equipment; $20,000 to Milford Haven Fire and Emergency Services towards the purchase of PPE and SCBA; $8,854 to Auld’s Cove Volunteer Fire Department for miscellaneous fire equipment; and $20,000 to Canso and Hazel Hill Volunteer Fire Department for miscellaneous fire equipment.
“We are very pleased,” said Canso and Hazel Hill Chief Tom Kavanaugh in an electronic message to the Journal. “This is a very significant investment [that will help us] stretch out our limited funds to make larger purchases of needed and required equipment.”
Specifically, he said, “The funding is allowing [us] to complete our replacement and upgrade of our hydraulic extrication tools (Jaws of Life). We’re also able to purchase a thermal imaging camera and a couple of other important pieces that will allow our firefighters to work more safely and be more effective during emergencies. We will now be better prepared to respond to emergencies in our communities, and help support our neighbours.”
According to Greg Morrow, MLA for Guysborough-Tracadie, the provincial program is necessary, particularly for rural areas that rely heavily on volunteers to provide emergency services. “Our government understands the work our volunteer first responders do when called upon in an emergency,” he said in a statement. “That is why we continue to fund fire departments so that volunteers have what they need, when they need it.”
The Guysborough brigades were among 80 across Nova Scotia that received funding of nearly $1.5 million for 2023-24 – ranging from a maximum of $20,000 to a low of just more than $4,000 (Iona Volunteer Fire Department in Cape Breton).
At the funding announcement in Canning last week, Premier Tim Houston indicated that more support could be coming, telling reporters: "When we ask Nova Scotians who are volunteers to step up to support other Nova Scotians, and we ask them to cross a county line or go to another catchment areas to do that, we should be supporting them as much as we can.”
Over the past 18 months, the provincial government has contributed $20,000 to each of more than 340 volunteer fire departments, ground search and rescue organizations and First Nations fire departments in Nova Scotia to offset rising operational costs.
Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal