Indigenous communities train for marine emergency response

Residents of coastal indigenous communities in British Columbia are training to participate in marine emergency response in a new program offered by the Canadian government.

The first training session under the Indigenous Community Response Training project wrapped up in early November at the Canadian Coast Guard station in Barnfield, British Columbia, with nine members from seven northern First Nations in the province graduating from the Coastal Nationals Search and Rescue course.

Participants spent four days at sea, taking part in advanced search and rescue simulations and live exercises with the Canadian Coast Guard.

Canadian authorities said the training will enhance emergency response partnerships between the Coast Guard and indigenous communities.

The project falls under one of the four main priority areas identified in Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan that aim to strengthen partnerships and begin co-management practices with indigenous communities, including building local emergency response capacity. Canada’s $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is designed to improve marine safety and protection the country’s marine environment and coastal communities.

The next training session is scheduled to take place at Barnfield, B.C. in February.