A newly-launched charity in Nova Scotia will help provide financial relief in times of need for firefighters across the province.
The Nova Scotia Firefighters Benevolent Fund (NSFBF) will help firefighters cover unexpected out-of-pocket expenses such as fuel, parking, meals, even lodging, that are incurred during out-of-town medical appointments.
“It was a response to the need that we’d seen within the firefighting community for a provincial safety net for firefighters who go through tough times, such as illness or a sick relative,” Martin Walton, the fund’s president and co-founder, tells Global News.
Walton, who’s also a captain at the Lunenburg & District Fire Department, says he and four colleagues came up with the idea for the NSFBF back in 2019. This week it was officially approved as a registered charity.
“It’s a great relief to finally be here, to go live, and to finally go through all the approval processes that we needed to. It’s a great day and we’re looking forward to the future,” Walton tells Global News.
Money raised will be made available to all the roughly 7,500 volunteer and 450 paid firefighters across the province, operating out of 271 departments.
“Obviously seeing fellow firefighters in need is a heartbreaking thing, and we’re quite good at fundraising, but often not for ourselves,” Walton says.
“Despite initiatives provided by government, such as the line-of-duty death benefit and the presumptive cancer benefits provided to fire service members through our health care system, and insurance carried by many career departments, most firefighters are left without a safety net in times of acute crisis.”
Applications for funding will go through department chiefs, according to Walton, while the identities of those applying for and receiving funding will be kept confidential. He says he hopes to see people from all regions of the province apply to be on the Board.
To apply for funds or to donate visit www.nsfbf.com.