A fire services training grant program that stopped in 2020 is now being reinstated by the provincial government. A total of $500,000 a year in grants will be available to help fire services across the province. The Fire Services Training Program grants are intended to supplement training supports already provided by municipalities, First Nations and Metis Settlements to their fire services departments.
"The grants cover a wide range of eligible costs, from basic skills training to specialized expertise such as ice water rescues and toxic materials responses," a provincial press release stated.
Randy Schroeder, President of The Alberta Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA) and fire chief of County of Lac Ste. Anne said that the province's announcement serves to reinforce Alberta’s commitment to supporting municipalities in providing firefighting as an essential service.
“The AFCA anticipates the needed support will be highly sought after and strongly encourages a long-term program that is monitored, fostered and supported to meet the future needs of our communities," he stated. "The AFCA sees this as a step in a positive direction of strengthening stakeholder relations.”
Rebecca Schulz, The Minister of Municipal Affairs underlined that while fire services are a municipal responsibility, these training grants can help ensure the availability of emergency services in some rural communities.
"Especially as we work to reduce rural emergency response times.”
Alberta Municipal Affairs also provides support for fire services by developing and implementing the provincial fire code, conducting fire inspections and investigations in unaccredited areas, administering emergency service medals and overseeing the testing and certification for fire rescue services recognized by the National Fire Protection Association and International Fire Service Accreditation Congress certification.