With the B.C. government committing $10 million to volunteer search and rescue groups Wednesday, Nanaimo Search and Rescue is hoping to spend its money to complement a new command vehicle.
With the Nanaimo non-profit group purchasing a new truck, Rob Christopher, search and rescue society president, said technology-oriented items for the vehicle are atop the shopping list.
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The new vehicle is anticipated to arrive in April and had a price tag of about $200,000, with money coming through provincial gaming grants and fundraising efforts, Christopher said.
“Even when we get [the vehicle] delivered, it’s still going to be about 90 per cent complete … we weren’t able to raise funds for everything that we need, so things like additional generators, radios, all that sort of add-on stuff that will make it 100 per cent functional, are still going to be there to purchase,” said Christopher.
Nanaimo search and rescue is also looking to upgrade equipment with a shelf life, such as rope and swift water rescue gear. A mast and awning for the vehicle are also sought, Christopher said.
The B.C. Search and Rescue Association, which liaises between the province and search and rescue groups, will distribute the $10 million to the province’s 80 rescue groups.
Jim McAllister, association special projects director, said there will be consultation and an allocation formula will be used to determine money distribution, as there are different sizes of groups.
McAllister said a certain percentage of the funding will go to assist with groups’ priorities. Additionally, groups will be assessed based on types of rescue they’ve been approved for and there is funding associated with each of the disciplines to help with training. There is a cost associated with attaining and maintaining specialized rescue skills, he said.
“What this formula does is take all that information and then it calculates what percentage of the overall funding that’s available would go out to that search-and-rescue group for their use,” said McAllister.