Nova Scotia is offering one-time grants of $10,000 to help volunteer fire departments, ground search and rescue organizations and First Nations fire departments recover from fundraising losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the province, more than 340 organizations will qualify for the $3.5 million investment.
“The pandemic has had a big impact on municipalities and volunteer fire departments,” said Premier Tim Houston in a news release.
“Firefighters and ground search and rescue crews are great at raising money in their community, but their efforts were held back by COVID. We hope this will help make up for some fundraising losses.”
The organizations will be able to determine how to use the grant. This could include buying new equipment, launching smoke alarm campaigns or help with an honorarium for volunteer firefighters to assist with increased costs.
Chief Jared Swinemar from the Western Shore and District Volunteer Fire Department said the lockdowns and social distancing mandates over the past two years have had a severe impact on the department’s ability to hold fundraisers.
As an example, the department’s garden party usually raises more than $12,000 a year.
“Despite these challenges, our department went above and beyond to maintain a high level of quality emergency service and this funding will allow us to continue to provide this level of service to our community,” he said in the release.