© SUEANN MUSICK - THE NEWS
Pictou East MLA Clarrie MacKinnon speaks with Tom Steele, right, deputy fire chief for the Westville Fire Department, about the department’s plans to update it communication system.
WESTVILLE – Six local fire departments are getting funding to upgrade their equipment.
Pictou East MLA Clarrie MacKinnon announced this week that the local departments were approved for more than $50,000 in funding through the 2013-14 Emergency Services Provider Fund.
The Barney’s River District Volunteer Fire Department received $20,000 for a self-contained breathing apparatus, the Blue Mountain Fire Department received $3,595 for personal protection equipment, the Thorburn Fire Department received $7,966 for self-contained breathing apparatus, the Westville Fire Department received $7,802 for communications equipment, the West River Fire Department received $5,299 for personal protection equipment and the Stellarton Fire Department received $11,370 for a thermal imaging camera.
The province’s contributions will pay for half of the total bill for the equipment while departments are responsible for the other half of the costs.
“Through the Emergency Services Provider Fund, the province is investing about $56,000 in six organizations in the county,” said MacKinnon, who made the announcement on behalf of John MacDonell, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “By ensuring these first responders can perform their duties safely and effectively, we are making life better for Nova Scotians.”
Tom Steele, deputy fire chief with the Westville Fire Department, said the department will be replacing its radios with digital technology that will give firefighters better range and more power.
“The ones we have now are over 20 years old,” he said. “There are areas in Westville that we can’t get good communication. You can have all the training in the world, but it if you can’t communicate, it’s not a good scenario.”
Steele said it will take about two months to get the new radio system in place and the fire department is fundraising for its share of the cost.
Barney’s River District Fire Chief Joe MacDonald said the purchase of a self-contained breathing apparatus will not only help the volunteer fire department, but also the community.
“The Emergency Services Provider Fund provides our fire department with up-to-date equipment that we would not be able to purchase without additional support,” he said.
The fund is providing $500,000 to 55 organizations province-wide this year. Once a department receives funding, it cannot apply again for another three years.