Volunteer fire departments and other emergency response organizations across the province are once again being encouraged to apply for funding through the Emergency Services Provider Fund. This $500,000 investment will help first responder organizations upgrade facilities and purchase equipment, such as pumps and hoses. “We are pleased to offer this assistance to volunteer fire departments and first response organizations to enhance safety in our communities,” said Ramona Jennex, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. The program will provide a maximum of $25,000 for eligible projects. Applications will be sent to fire departments and ground search and rescue organizations. Applications are also available online at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/muns/espf . The deadline for applications is Friday, Dec. 18.