The B.C. government has announced $10 million in new funding for search and rescue organizations across the province, many of which are volunteer-run.
The one-time boost of funds will go toward bolstering training, improving administration and renewing equipment.
"It's a small army of 2,500 volunteers that comb the province's backcountry, rappel into steep ravines and weather the worst of the elements, while leaving behind the comforts of home to go seek and find those who are lost or injured," said Naomi Yamamoto, the minister of state for emergency preparedness, in a written statement.
The president of the B.C. Search and Rescue Association, Chris Kelly, said the money would "help relieve some of the funding pressures," but his organization will continue to work with the province on a proposed alternate model for search and rescue.
More long-term support needed
North Shore Rescue team leader Mike Danks said he got a call from the province Tuesday night about the announcement, albeit with few details.
While the funding announcement was welcome news, Danks said more needs to be done to support organizations like his in the long term.
"We're incredibly grateful for the support," he said. "We need to sit down and determine how the money will be issued amongst the teams throughout the province."
Besides rescues, Danks said 70 per cent of his team's work is done in the background — maintaining equipment and educating the public on safety in the backcountry.
He said there needs to be a more consistent model of funding for rescue groups in B.C.