Local volunteer fire departments secure $20,000 maximum toward first response equipment

by Keith Corcoran

Eight volunteer fire departments in Lunenburg County secured the maximum $20,000 available through a provincial funding program to help upgrade equipment used in dealing with fire or emergency incidents.

Fire services in Mahone Bay, Wileville, Chester Basin, Chester, Cornwall, and Hubbards are among departments receiving threshold under the Emergency Services Provider Fund for individual agencies.

Tri-district fire rescue, which covers communities including Baker Settlement, Chelsea, and Newcombville, along with the Italy Cross-Middlewood and district fire department also received $20,000 each, the province announced during a news conference October 16.

"This funding will allow our department to purchase much needed safety equipment that we require to protect our firefighters while we serve our community," Italy Cross's fire chief, Nancy Llewellyn-Rafuse, said in a statement provided to LighthouseNOW.

Italy Cross responders are acquiring personal protective equipment such as helmets, boots and gloves, as well as hoses and nozzles for water suppression.

The North Queens fire association ($14,089.63), and other departments in New Germany ($16,979), Blandford ($12,463.13), and Hemford ($18,782.66) also filed successful program applications.

The Emergency Services Provider Fund covers three-quarters (up to $20,000) of the eligible cost of whatever equipment the agency is trying to buy. Organizations can only apply every three years.

About six-dozen agencies across the province received a portion of the $1.25 million awarded for fiscal year 2020-21.

The provincial program has been in existence since 2006. The province originally set aside $5 million for the fund, thinking it would be a one-year program. The maximum amount available at the time was $250,000 for new construction projects. The Italy Cross-Middlewood District Fire Department received that six-figure amount toward building its new Highway 103 station.

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