The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury will be getting a boost from the Office of the Fire Marshal as part of the province's Fire Safety Grant Program.
In March, the province announced it would be providing $5 million in funding to help municipal fire services and the impacts of COVID-19.
This one-time funding will enhance in-person and online instruction needs by increasing access to additional training. It will also support updates to specialized critical equipment, such as high-speed internet, to enhance virtual training and enable remote options to support fire safety and compliance with Ontario's Fire Code while minimizing exposure to the virus.
The town will be receiving $13,300 to be used for increased training opportunities and equipment within Bradford Fire and Emergency Services.
In Tuesday night's meeting of virtual council, councillors authorized the grant transfer payment.
"Our government has listened to fire services across the province and recognizes the impact that COVID-19 has had on their operations," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "This funding will enhance opportunities for training and support fire safety inspections needed to keep our communities safe. We are grateful to these brave, dedicated individuals for their commitment to protecting Ontarians as the fight against COVID-19 continues."
"I want to commend the fire services for their dedication to protecting communities during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Jon Pegg, Ontario Fire Marshal. "This grant represents the difference in allowing fire departments to adapt and respond to COVID-19 related impacts that ensures both community and fire personnel safety, especially within small and rural communities.
"We intend to use it and have been accepted to provide some Canadian Mental Health Association resilient mind training for full time and volunteer firefighters," said Fire Chief Jim Kay. "This will cover the costs of bringing in the trainers and the courses."
In addition, the funding will also help cover the costs of new specialized cameras which will help with fire prevention inspections.
"These are cameras we currently do not have but have had a desire to have for a while, so the funding came at a great time," said Kay. "We're very excited to provide this training and specialized equipment."
"It sounds like a great use of the funding," said Mayor Rob Keffer, who thanked Kay and the fire services team for all the work they have done over the past few weeks dealing with the blaze at 114 Holland St. West.
"I'd like to thank you for your work and the service over the past three weeks, they have been very busy and it's been challenging," said Mayor Keffer.
There are 441 fire departments in Ontario including 32 large municipal services consisting of full-time fire personnel, 215 composite fire departments made up of full-time and volunteer personnel, and 194 small municipal fire services or communities without municipal organization and are made up solely of volunteers.