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Burn barrels distributed to homeless encampments: WFPS

Homeless encampment. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press

A new pilot project is aiming to keep people warm while containing fires and avoiding injury.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is distributing burn barrels to homeless encampments to keep those living on the street warm in what Scott Wilkinson, Assistant Chief of the WFPS, is calling a “harm reduction measure.”

“We have an initial 15 barrels to launch the pilot project and we’re partnering with our community agencies to identify encampments,” he says.

Read more: Fatal Winnipeg house fire claims person, dog

Wilkinson acknowledges there are less encampments this year, crediting work from the city’s poverty reduction strategy. The WFPS is waiving the permit issue for encampments as he says the barrels are meant for containment and to reduce the “risk of injury.”

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Wilkinson says the project is expected to run until Spring “and over the Summer we’ll evaluate feedback from our community agencies and partners,” he says.

He says they will go over the data and feedback to see if the program needs to be re-instituted in the Fall.

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