The IAFF is welcoming an announcement by the Canadian government that it will fund the IAFF Responding to the Interface (RTI) training program as part of a significant commitment to improve wildland firefighting response capabilities in Canada.
The government announced April 7 that it has allotted $37.9 million in its 2022 federal budget for wildland firefighting, including $600,000 in ongoing funding for the IAFF RTI program, which will help the federal government honour its commitment to provide wildland response training to 1,000 fire fighters.
IAFF General President Edward Kelly welcomed news of the wildfire response funding, saying discussions are already underway with the federal government about getting the IAFF’s training program up and running in Canada.
“Wildfires are an increasing threat to the lives and property of millions of Canadians. With the funding announced in this federal budget for wildland response training and equipment, the Liberal government is clearly demonstrating that it remains committed to fire fighter and public safety,” he says.
Due to climate change and other factors, such as suburban expansion, wildfires are an increasing threat especially in western Canada, including remote and First Nations communities.
As shown during the wildfire that ravaged Fort McMurray in 2016 and the wildfires that occur in British Columbia and other provinces every year, fire fighters are on the frontlines protecting citizens from this threat. An IAFF survey from 2020 found that wildland response training was lacking or out of date in a majority of urban fire departments.
“Our IAFF Responding to the Interface program is tried and tested in the United States and we’re looking forward to getting it going in Canada as soon as possible so that fire fighters can safely and effectively protect their fellow citizens when wildfires occur,” Kelly says.
The IAFF also welcomes the budget 2022 allocation of funding for a secretariat to support the Minister of Emergency Preparedness and to enhance federal coordination of emergency responses.