The B.C. government has once again extended the deadline for ground search and rescue crews to apply to be a “Public Safety Provider” and be able to operate in the province.
The new Emergency and Disaster Management Act required ground search and rescue (GSAR) groups in B.C. to apply to the province to be able to continue operating, but some search and rescue groups said the new requirements were confusing and they asked for more time to be able to figure it out.
Last month, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue reached out to CHEK News after the B.C. government was holding firm on its Dec. 1 deadline to sign on. The new legislation was brought into effect on Nov. 8. After CHEK News reached out to the government for more information, the deadline was extended to Dec. 15.
Now, the government has offered another extension. This time, GSARs have until Feb. 15 to apply to be a Public Safety Provider.
“While most GSAR groups have applied to become a Public Safety Provider, the Ministry has heard from some GSAR groups that they would like more time to review and understand becoming an authorized Public Safety Provider,” the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness said in a statement to CHEK News.
“Ministry staff will continue working directly with GSAR groups to answer their questions and provide more information.”
An information page on the new act by the B.C. government says the new legislation gives liability protection for volunteers helping in emergency situations, and allows the province to establish standards, protocols, and procedures for volunteers.