Jan. 18, 2021, Lunenburg, N.S. – A new charity in Nova Scotia was formed to help the province’s firefighters cope with the unexpected.
The recently established Nova Scotia Firefighters Benevolent Fund (NSFBF) will soon be aiding firefighters in need.
Funds will be dispersed to help firefighters cover unexpected out-of-pocket expenses such as fuel, parking, meals, and even lodging, that are incurred during trips to appointments with out-of-town medical practitioners.
Provided they meet NSFBF eligibility and disbursement criteria, all active volunteer, career, provincial, federal and Indigenous firefighters in Nova Scotia will be eligible for funding consideration.
“Costs associated with travelling great distances to medical appointments, or recuperating from an illness or injury, can quickly add up, significantly impacting a family’s financial resources. We want to relieve those pressures,” said NSFBF president Martin Walton, a captain with Lunenburg and District Fire Department, in a press release. “Despite initiatives provided by government, such as the line-of-duty death benefit and the presumptive cancer benefits provided to fire service members through our health care system, and insurance carried by many career departments, most firefighters are left without a safety net in times of acute crisis.”
Applications for funding will be handled through the various fire chiefs or their designates throughout the province, and identities of firefighters receiving financial assistance from NSFBF will be kept confidential.
In addition to Walton, the NSFBF’s founding board of directors is comprised of Dave Robb, deputy chief, Lunenburg and District Fire Department; Andy Wentzell, deputy chief, Bridgewater Fire Department; Peter Simpson, firefighter and medical first responder, Dayspring and District Fire Department; and Will Brooks, founder and past president of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Walton said the board composition will be expanded to include representation from all regions of the province, and fundraising and disbursement committees have also been established.
Fundraising efforts include reaching out to large corporate entities, as well as other businesses, community organizations, fire service groups and individuals. Tax receipts will be issued for donations $20 and greater.
The Nova Scotia Office of the Fire Marshal statistics show there are about 7,500 volunteer firefighters and 450 paid firefighters operating out of 271 fire departments in the province.
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