Saskatchewan Government Insurance has announced a major investment in the first responders who save lives and keep provincial highways safer. SGI is putting up $5.6 million for training fire department first responders who attend to vehicle collisions. In a release, the insurer notes that it’s the first program of its kind in the province to help responders meet minimum standards for auto extraction in collision events. The funding will also provide equipment to support the goals.  

"Advancements in vehicle technology have led to new materials and designs in modern automobiles," Minister Responsible for SGI Don Morgan said.  "Volunteer firefighters are often the first to respond to collisions on highways and rural roads, and it is essential that volunteer fire departments are kept up-to-date with evolving tool developments and adaptations around new car designs."

"This is excellent news for the nearly 300 volunteer firefighting agencies in Saskatchewan," Saskatchewan Volunteer Firefighters Association President Doug Lapchuk said. "This program will greatly enhance our abilities to safely and adequately respond to motor vehicle collisions involving entrapment, in far more areas of our province that currently may not have extrication services available in a timely manner."

The fund will be managed and distributed by the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA), who will consult with SGI, the Provincial Standards Training Committee, fire service stakeholders and other Government of Saskatchewan ministries during program development.  

The SPSA will work with the Saskatchewan Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, the Saskatchewan Association of Fire Chiefs and other stakeholders to develop auto extrication training standards and establish a fair and equitable process for purchasing tools and equipment.