More funding is on the way for ground search and rescue groups in British Columbia.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced a $6 million annual funding contribution beginning in 2022, which will help support the work of the province’s 79 groups and their 2,500 volunteers.

This is in addition to the approximately $10 million in funding provided each year for search-related operational costs.

“B.C.’s ground search and rescue groups have been calling for long-term, sustainable funding, and we’ve worked with them to meet this need,” Farnworth said.

Since January, search and rescue groups on the ground have responded to more than 700 calls throughout the province.

BCSARA president Chris Kelly says the funding and support is “truly a milestone for the ground search and rescue service in B.C.”

Farnworth is now calling on all British Columbians to be safe and to “make sure your family, friends and neighbours are being safe, so we can reduce the risks for everyone.”

“Search and rescue volunteers take a risk every time they go out to rescue someone, and that risk is heightened due to COVID 19,” he added.