Municipalities will be able to train their volunteer firefighters and receive grant money for it, thanks to a provincial training grant program.
Municipal Affairs, which is in charge of the Office of the Fire Commissioner, announced Wednesday, March 2 in Ermineskin that $650,000 will be provided to 50 municipalities and four First Nations that host firefighter training sessions. Getting those funds will be possible if the municipality is part of some regional collaboration. The money won’t pay for any training program in full but will help reduce the overall cost of training.
Among the attendees was Danielle Larivee, Minister of Municipal Affairs, and high ranked members of the Office of the Fire Commissioner as well as Chief Randy Ermineskin and firefighters with the Ermineskin Fire Department.
“Most Albertans don’t know but the majority of firefighters in Alberta are volunteer firefighters,” said Larivee.
She said the goal is to help give these municipalities and firefighters important emergency preparedness training. The funds from the Fire Services Emergency Preparedness Program is an annual grant program that gives priority to regional collaboration.
“It’s so important that we all levarage all the resouces that we have to the best capacity. Typically that means when we share together we all come out ahead,” said Larivee.
Municipalities that do work together are looked at in a positive light and will be favoured in the grant process.
Chief Randy Ermineskin said the funds will be of great benefit to the department. “It helps training and further capacities to help.”
Volunteer firefighters will now be able to enhance their expertise and skills and bring further protection to the community and surrounding communities, he added.
Ermineskin will receive $12,500 towards its firefighter training program. Both the town and county of Ponoka are part of a group called the Central Alberta Fire Training Association (CAFTA), which will allocate the money to departments that bring regional collaboration into their training.
CAFTA will receive $25,500 that will go to its members in central Alberta.
It is believed the money announced has been reduced compared to previous years.