Rossland Search and Rescue receive a $40,000 Christmas gift

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
December 22nd, 2010

Rossland search and rescue (RSAR) received a somewhat unexpected early Christmas present this year to the tune of $40,000 to go towards half the cost of a new search and rescue vehicle. The group is now continuing towards their goal of establishing a permanent search and rescue base facility in Rossland in order to get the second half of the funding for the truck.

   The truck is expected to cost upwards of $80,000 in total and although the final vehicle has not yet been chosen it will likely be similar to Castlegar Search and Rescue’s vehicle.   “Picture a cube truck except a little more heavy duty, with all wheel drive and loaded up with rescue equipment,” explained Dave Braithwaite of the RSAR. “It’s like a fire rescue vehicle rather than a fire-truck. The main thing for us is that it’s going t be able to pull the command trailer. It will also have the proper safety and seating for a response team. In the back it will have emergency response stuff like radios and equipment needed to do our jobs well.”   Earlier this year RSAR applied for grant funding from the provincial gaming grants program and came up short largely due to the fact that they do not have a building from which to operate. More recently an unexpected second round of funding was announced and in round two the RSAR was awarded $40,000 to go towards the purchase of a new search and rescue first response vehicle.   “When we first got the news we thought, “Oh well at least we applied and tried our best,” explained Braithwaite. “Then it came in afterward that they were going to give us part of what we need for the truck but not the full amount. Another group got the full amount because they have a building. So right now we can buy half of a truck. If we could get some support to buy or build a building we could get the rest of the grant.”   Last year RSAR came to the City with some plans and a request for support in helping them establish a permanent location in Rossland. Establishing that permanent home base is critical for the group going forward not just in terms of having a place to park their unique-to-the-region command trailer and equipment, but also to allow them to apply for further funding. As they’ve seen so far the various granting bodies out there are willing to match funds and provide funding for equipment and vehicles so long as the local community shows initial support in terms of matching grant funds and that the search and rescue group have a base.   “For this very grant we put in an application and they picked out certain applications to fund based on criteria,” added Braithwaite. “We didn’t make that first round because we don’t have a building. Without a building we’re not going to get many grants. Once we have a building they sponsor the whole emergency response program and equipment and set that up as a community emergency response centre.”   What they need to make the building happen is a combination of a piece of land and an injection of cash from the City to make that happen. Typically, if built from scratch, Search and Rescue buildings can cost upwards of half a million dollars. The funding available for buildings is on a matching grant fund which would require the city to first put up several hundred thousand dollars to get the process rolling. Other options discussed by the City last year when the RSAR approached them were the possibility of using the City owned shed, house and property on 3rd Avenue across from the Emcon Lot. As noted by RSAR, however, there are specific requirements that are set out by the Provincial Emergency Preparedness program that have to be met and those existing buildings without significant renovations are not likely to meet that criteria.   “Last year the City offered to support the group by potentially giving them use of a piece of city-owned property. That’s excellent,” continued Braithwaite. “It won’t be too long until we go back to the city for a request. Sometime after Christmas. We’ll let them know where we’re at and that we have funding for half a truck and that we need housing for that truck. I’m hoping they will be able to come through with something. We’re being positive about it and taking a positive approach and we’ll get it done eventually.   For now the group is happy with the initial $40,000 that will allow them to go out and purchase the frame, engine and cab of the truck. If and when they get a home base building they will be able to apply for the second half of the funding for the second half of the vehicle and put the emergency response box on the back.

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