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For Immediate Release

Dec. 10, 2013

Ministry of Justice
Emergency Management BC



$500K supports public safety in the backcountry


VICTORIA – Heading into the holiday season, the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) and BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA) have each received $250,000 in gaming grants to support their operations and public safety efforts.


However, the gift they really want this year can only come from you – getting the right gear, training and information before going into the backcountry.


The CAC produces daily avalanche forecasts for most of the mountainous regions in western Canada, outside national parks close to 250,000 square kilometres. The BCSARA supports more than 2,500 search-and-rescue volunteers in more than 80 communities. Both groups support backcountry safety public education efforts in order reduce deaths and injuries.


This gaming grant funding is part of $4.1 million for search and rescue, firefighting and other emergency-related organizations confirmed so far and detailed in the backgrounder that follows.





Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton –  


“The Canadian Avalanche Centre and BC Search and Rescue Association, along with their membership, do tremendous work educating people about safe practices when heading into the winter backcountry work that saves lives. We encourage everyone to listen to these experts: get the gear, get the training, check the forecasts and leave a plan.”


“The B.C. government is committed to supporting public safety throughout the province and gaming grants enhance the ability of the diverse public safety organizations in our communities, where it matters most.”


Gilles Valade, CAC executive director


“We’ve seen a steady downward trend in the number of avalanche fatalities over the past ten years. This is especially significant when we consider the tremendous increase in winter backcountry use over that same time period. This funding allows us to continue to provide our public avalanche warning service as well as our public education efforts.”


“The goal of the CAC is to ensure that everyone going into avalanche terrain carries essential safety gear—a transceiver, probe and shovel—and knows how to use it, has taken an Avalanche Skills Training course, and checks the avalanche forecast before heading out.


Don Bindon, BC SARA president –


“Search and Rescue volunteers respond to more than 1,000 incidents of lost or injured people every year in the B.C. wilderness, more than the rest of Canada combined. Through BCSARA, this funding will continue to support training and education for our dedicated volunteers.”


“Our teams know first-hand the importance of education. Making sure you leave a trip plan and sticking to it when exploring B.C.’s backcountry in the winter can mean the difference between life and death if you get lost or injured.”



Quick Facts:


·         According to research looking at coroners’ statistics, an average of 10 persons die each year in B.C. while engaged in winter activities like skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling. Another 15 or more persons die each year from hypothermia or exposure to cold.

·         The foundation of CAC’s public avalanche warning service is built on information submitted by an extensive network of avalanche professionals. This data allows the CAC to provide backcountry users with a forecast of the avalanche and snowpack conditions.

·         Enrolment in Avalanche Skills Training courses co-ordinated through the CAC continues to climb. Last year, close to 7,000 people took that two-day course.

·         B.C. also supports the CAC with $255,000 in funding through Emergency Management BC and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. In addition, funding is provided to the CAC to cover Special Avalanche Warning Bulletins at a cost of $2,500 per bulletin four to six times per year.

·         The BCSARA enhances the provision of volunteer search and rescue services in the province by facilitating access to funding, educating the general public on outdoor safety, and providing volunteers with a common link to information and resources.

·         Last year, the Province supported BC search-and-rescue-affiliated groups with a total of $7 million in funding through training, gaming grants, liability and operational reimbursement.



Learn More:


For a one-stop shop of information and links on backcountry safety, visit Emergency Info BC:


For information on avalanche training or to view avalanche bulletins, visit


To find a search and rescue team near you or for information on public safety efforts, visit



A backgrounder follows.



Media Contact:


Government Communications and Public Engagement

Ministry of Justice

250 213-3602



Connect with the Province of B.C. at:




For Immediate Release

Dec. 10, 2013

Ministry of Justice
Emergency Management BC




$4.1 million supports public safety in British Columbia


More than $4.1 million in funding has been confirmed so far for search and rescue, firefighting and other emergency-related organizations. This includes:


Central Interior/Southeast:


Oliver Osoyoos Search and Rescue Society - $8,300

Willowbrook Volunteer Fire Department - $32,500

Golden & District Search and Rescue Association - $35,000

Revelstoke Canine Search & Rescue - $13,800

Golden Volunteer Firefighters Society - $225,000

Nicola Valley Search and Rescue - $10,000

Hayes Creek Firefighters' Association - $8,300

Princeton Ground Search & Rescue Society - $18,000

Watch Lake-North Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department - $57,000

Logan Lake Search and Rescue Society - $12,000

Wells Gray Search and Rescue Society - $26,000

Canadian Ski Patrol System - Pacific Division - $10,000

Canadian Ski Patrol Ogopogo Zone - $25,000

Central Okanagan Search & Rescue Society - $33,200

Fernie Volunteer Ski Patrol Society - $6,180

Sparwood Search & Rescue Society - $56,500

Castlegar Society for Search & Rescue - $73,500

South Columbia Search and Rescue Society - $63,000

Rossland and District Search and Rescue Society - $84,500

West Creston Fire Protection Society - $3,900

Nelson Search and Rescue Society - $47,000

Shuswap Lifeboat Society - $28,500

Shuswap Volunteer Search & Rescue Society - $43,000

Orchard City Amateur Radio Club - $13,200

Kelowna Snowmobile Club - $18,000


Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley:


Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue Society - $80,000

Mission-Dard Search & Rescue Society - $24,250

Royal Life Saving Society Canada - BC & Yukon - $20,000

Chilliwack Search and Rescue Society - $30,000

Coquihalla Summit Snowmobile Club - $12,000

Kent-Harrison Search & Rescue Team Society - $41,000

Sunshine Valley Volunteer Fire Department - $15,000

Coquitlam Search and Rescue Society - $50,000

New Westminster Amateur Radio Club - $6,600

Fraser Power & Sail Squadron - $10,000

Delta Marine Rescue Society - $67,000

Roberts Bank Lifeboat Station - Delta Society - $28,600

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue Society - $90,000

North Shore Rescue Team Society - $72,500

Decourcy Island Community Association - $6,950

Canadian Power & Sail Seymour Squadron - $5,000

Gibsons Marine Rescue Association - $100,000

Strait of Georgia Marine Rescue Society - $17,000

Richmond Marine Rescue Society - $23,200

Richmond Amateur Radio Club - $3,700

Surrey Search and Rescue Society - $56,000

Semiahmoo Peninsula Marine Rescue Society - $50,000

Vancouver Emergency Community Telecommunications Organization - $18,550

Canadian Lifeboat Institution Inc - $22,000

North Shore Lifeboat Society - $57,500

Black Tusk Snowmobile Club - $18,000

West Vancouver Marine Search & Rescue Society - $48,500

Howe Sound Marine Rescue Society - $31,800

Pemberton District Search and Rescue Society - $51,000

Squamish Search and Rescue Society - $72,000

Powder Mountain Snowmobile & Outdoor Recreation Club - $15,000




Big Lake Community Association - $25,000

South Cariboo Search & Rescue Society - $20,000

Chimney and Felker Lakes Landholders Association 1991 - $30,000

Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department Society - $10,000

Houston Search & Rescue - $5,000

Topley Fire Protection Society - $22,500

Burns Lake Search and Rescue Society - $14,500

Prince Rupert Marine Rescue Society - $25,000

Massett Marine Rescue Society - $25,000

Prince George Search and Rescue Society - $60,000

Prince George Regional Highway Rescue Society - $40,000

Kitimat Marine Rescue Society - $95,000

Terrace Search and Rescue Society – $39,000

Bulkley Valley Amateur Radio Society - $15,000

Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue Society - $25,000

Atlin Search & Rescue Society - $27,000


Vancouver Island:


Bamfield Volunteer Fire Department - $15,000

Port Alberni Marine Rescue Society - $31,000

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad - $38,000

Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society, Unit 59 - $11,000

Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society - $100,000

Mesachie Lake Volunteer Fire Department - $11,000

Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio Society - $7,500

Caycuse Volunteer Fire Department - $5,000

Juan De Fuca Marine Rescue Society - $57,000

Otter Point Volunteer Firefighters Association - $13,000

Nanaimo Marine Rescue Society - $58,000

Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association (Nara) - $7,500

Ladysmith & District Marine Rescue Society - $41,000

Campbell River Marine Rescue Society - $7,000

Port Alice Marine Rescue Society - $93,900

Port McNeill Marine Rescue Society - $121,000

Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society - $62,500

Nanaimo Search & Rescue Society - $81,000

Lantzville Volunteer Fire Fighters Association - $14,800

Saanich Inlet Lifeboat Society - $22,000

Gulf Islands Marine Rescue Society - $40,000

Salish Sea Marine Rescue Society – $17,000

Salt Spring Island Search and Rescue Society - $19,000

Saanich Marine Rescue Society - $19,000

Victoria Marine Rescue Society - $70,500

Westcoast Amateur Radio Association - $4,500




Canadian Avalanche Centre - $250,000

British Columbia Search and Rescue Association - $250,000

Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association - $70,000


Total - $4.1 million



Media Contact:


Government Communications and Public Engagement

Ministry of Justice

250 213-3602



Connect with the Province of B.C. at: