Supporting fire safety in BC’s Indigenous communities
January 18, 2018 by Joanne Hunton-Sehdev
The safety and wellness of the communities we serve is at the very core of our company values – as is respecting the history, culture and beliefs of Indigenous Peoples.
We had the opportunity to become a prime sponsor of an Indigenous youth training program put on by the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of BC (FNESS). The program teaches basic firefighting while encourages potential careers.
When we met with Sylvana Hof, a fire services coordinator at FNESS, her enthusiasm about the training was apparent: “We’re excited to help improve fire safety through fire prevention initiatives such as the Youth Boot Camps and the annual Safety Expo, an event which is partnered with the Fire Chiefs Association of BC, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and this year with FortisBC.”
FNESS provides emergency services and resources to Indigenous communities who have limited or no access to municipal First Responders. This is also key for us as we can better share important information about appliance, natural gas and electrical safety.
We provide service to 56 Indigenous communities while our natural gas and electricity infrastructure crosses more than 150 traditional territories in BC. It’s always been important that we respect Indigenous social, economic and cultural interests. Years ago, we adopted a formal Statement of Indigenous Principles that guides our approach to both day-to-day operations and developing effective relationships with Indigenous communities.
In September, we joined thousands on a Walk for Reconciliation in Vancouver. And earlier this year, we celebrated National Aboriginal Day by participating in a variety of culture events. In addition, we continuously work with various groups to provide education grants and training to Indigenous students in addition to employment of contractors and businesses.
From sponsorships and walks, to training and employment, we’re working together for stronger, safer communities.