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Highway rescue seeking funding for new truck after getting no from province

Revelstoke fire chief Rob Girard shows all the highway rescue equipment that was transferred to a leased rescue truck. - Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review
Revelstoke fire chief Rob Girard shows all the highway rescue equipment that was transferred to a leased rescue truck.
— image credit: Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review

The Revelstoke fire department has started the process of acquiring a new highway rescue truck after the province denied funding for the vehicle.

Rescue One was severely damaged in a crash on Dec. 20, 2013, and is out of service indefinitely. The cost to repair the truck is estimated at $60,000–$80,000 and the value of the 13-year-old vehicle is estimated at not much more than that.

The truck did not have collision insurance.

Fire chief Rob Girard said in a news release that he spoke to Emergency Management BC about a securing a replacement vehicle.

“Road rescue, according to EMBC, is not a provincial government mandate," he said. "Rather they provide expense reimbursement funding to service providers such as us. EMBC recognizes the immediate need for Revelstoke to find a more permanent solution, but so far that is the extent of the commitment for assistance we are getting from province.”

EMBC reimburses road rescue organizations $300 per hour when they are on call to cover costs like fuel expenses, but there is no coverage for expensive capital costs.

Girard said he will be looking at the cost of a new vehicle and what funding sources are available.

Right now, the fire department is leasing an old vehicle for the next three months. The $4,500 per month cost of the leased vehicle is being covered by EMBC, Girard said.

"We are pleased that our firefighters are able to carry on providing the much needed highway rescue services on our local highways with the use of this leased vehicle. However, we are disappointed a more permanent solution cannot be found in a timelier manner,” said Brad Faucett, a volunteer firefighter and president of the Revelstoke Fire Rescue Society.

Girard said he would look for provincial, federal and other grants, as well as corporate sponsorship opportunities.

When the old truck was purchased in the early-2000s, it was done so with money gained from fundraising and other sponsorships. It was covered with the logos of key sponsors, including the Revelsoke Credit Union, Revelstoke Rotary Club, Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary Society, Columbia Basin Trust, CIBC, NAPA Auto Parts, Best Western and more.

In Invermere, B.C., the fire department recently had to raise about $500,000 to purchase a highway rescue vehicle.

There is no word on what will happen to highway rescue when the new truck's lease expires in three months.

“We are moving forward in finding solutions as it truly assists the motoring public in their time of need, on our local highways," said Mayor David Raven in a statement.

 

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