As the complexity and reach of global threats continues to increase, the demands on public safety and first responders are also growing.
Recent reports – including studies by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and public safety organizations around the world – have confirmed that first responders want timelier mission-critical information to decrease response times and detect and mitigate threats before they happen. Interestingly, this is similar to what militaries around the world need for the battlefield.
The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced that five states – Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Utah and West Virginia – will participate in a policy academy on emergency communications interoperability.
“Interoperability” refers to how federal, state and local emergency responders communicate with each other by voice, data and video on demand and in real time. Interoperable emergency communications are essential to effective public safety, response and recovery operations in the wake of disaster.
The Government of Canada is committed to enhance compensation benefits for public safety officers who are permanently disabled or killed in the line of duty. This includes the creation of a public safety officers compensation benefit for firefighters, police officers and paramedics. In listening to representatives from the three public safety officer groups, the Government of Canada will better understand their compensations needs.
Canada and the United States came together from April 26 to 28, 2016 to assess technologies that can help their respective emergency management officials and responders communicate and exchange information more efficiently during an emergency situation touching both sides of the border. The experiment provided key insights to inform future investments in cross-border communications technologies and the results will be documented in a joint Canada-U.S. after action report.
My first 9 months as executive editor of Frontline Safety and Security has been a great learning process that included meeting with and learning from the people and organizations responsible for keeping Canadians Safe and Secure. The purpose of these meetings was to learn more about their issues, about what they wanted – and needed – to read about in the pages of FrontLine.
It has been an interesting first few months for me as the new editor of Frontline Safety and Security. I have spent the last few months meeting with organizations tasked with, or interested in, keeping the public safe – let’s call them partners in safety and security. These have included various intelligence organizations, associations, first responders, and Universities.
The need for proper recognition, collection, and preservation of physical evidence is apparent to all who are involved in the criminal justice system. Physical evidence can directly or indirectly lead to the solution of a crime. Charging and prosecution decisions may be affected by the quality of the physical evidence supporting the case. United States and Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions have placed great emphasis upon physical evidence in criminal cases. This handbook is offered in the belief that increased knowledge leads to understanding and that understanding leads to excellence.
Your guide to understanding insurance coverage of damage from natural catastrophes including hail, flood, storms, wildfires, wind, lightning and earthquakes.
General Clive Addy steered this magazine throughout its first nine formative years; following in his footsteps will be a distinct honour. Throughout the many years of service to his country, he has given much. Upon retiring from the Canadian Armed Forces, he found a unique way to continue to serve his country – he used this magazine as a vehicle to promote awareness of the need to enhance national security. It is with pleasure that I have accepted the position of incoming Executive Editor of FrontLine Security magazine.
As I end my nine years as first Executive Editor of this fine magazine, and reflect upon the coming security challenges we face as Canadians in the next half decade and beyond, what has most struck me is the exponential increase in the number and complexity of security challenges and risks brought about by a myriad of important factors, the most prevalent of which is the dominating and increasing presence, influence and dependence upon the internet for everything in our much changed “every day lives”.
(2014) This year, the World Disasters Report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, takes on a challenging theme that looks at different aspects of how culture affects disaster risk reduction (DRR) and how disasters and risk influence culture.
On the morning of 6 December 1917, in the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, near the U.S. border in Maine, a French ship, the Mont Blanc, filled with military explosives collided with another vessel. Twenty minutes later, a fire set off the Mont Blanc’s volatile cargo and caused a catastrophic explosion – killing thousands and destroying an entire section of the nearby city. Rescue efforts were dispatched immediately from the Canadian mainland as well as the United States, but confusion and lack of immediate information delayed some of the rescue efforts for hours.
We are on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the creation of a single Canadian federal department focused on “Public Safety.” After 9-11, an obvious need to form a more robust coordination of our National Security. Thus, from the Solicitor General Branch and the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness (OCIPEP) in the 90’s, the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada was created in 2003, headed by Minister Anne McLellan.
Changing Culture in Changing Times
A fundamental culture shift is taking place among First Responders (police, fire, and emergency medical services personnel) as they seek to adopt and adapt the technology tools and applications that can affect all aspects of their ability to serve the communities they are sworn to protect.
It's More Than Gadgets and Gizmos
In the ‘non lab coat’ world of law enforcement, security and first responders, “technology” is a means to an end and not an end unto itself. That ‘end’, of course, is the successful performance of operational duties, which have enormous public safety ramifications as well as real risk to the men and women who perform them on our behalf.
In this issue we have focused on Emergency Response, primarily medical, and reflect on some serious proposals such as those by Steve Rowland on Emergency Medical Services in Ontario and Edward R Myers on both the OPP Medical Services and the Culture of Safety Richard Bray and Sean Tracy expose some other responder safety challenges and innovations in their articles dealing with CBRN and electric vehicle accident response.
Michael Nolan, President of the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada (EMSCC) has a day job that is devoted to responding to the needs of his community in Renfrew County, Ontario. When not on that job, he is buried in dealing with the issues facing the EMS professionals across the country.
Situational awareness is crucial in a CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear and/or Explosive) incident.
Instrument View displays live images and data, and replays data stored from a database.
When my generation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel thinks of data sharing in the field, we have visions of Squad 51 using their Biophone; a combination voice and telemetry radio communications system. Paramedics could call the base hospital and not only talk to the doctor but could also send live cardiac data by way of electrocardiogram rhythms.
The Canadian government expects 500,000 highway capable plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) on Canadian roads by 2018.
Mother Nature was on the warpath in 2011. From the beginning of January ‘till the end of December, there were hundreds of calamities around the world – perhaps none so dramatic and devastating as the Japanese earthquake/tsunami that struck in March.
An aerial view of Slake Lake Fire
Because the snow prevented first responders from reaching their Emergency Operations Centres, they quickly established virtual operations, triggering ground and air rescue missions using their laptops and telephones. In the absence of situational awareness tools (SA), critical information was relayed between police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) using telephone and email across several jurisdictions (Lambton County, Middlesex, Sarnia, St. Clair Township/County, Michigan) and between the Ontario Provincial Police, Canadian Forces and the utility companies.
Across the vast expanse of the Arctic coast, on Great Slave Lake and in the Mackenzie Delta, boaters in distress look to members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) for assistance. In the Northwest Territories, the all-volunteer CCGA has units in Aklavik, Inuvik, Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Resolution, Fort Chipewyan and Fort McMurray. In the eastern Arctic, Nunavut, there are units in Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Pangnirtung.
First responders are on the front lines of counter-terrorism. When terrorists attack, emergency services personnel have no choice but to react. That makes police, fire and medical personnel vulnerable to attackers that can strike anonymously, from a distance, with invisible weapons.
COP – Common Operating (or Operational) Picture – includes relevant operational information such as command post, snipers, enemies, buildings, and terrain. It can be also represented visually, such as with maps, photos, pictometry, diagrams and charts. An effective COP will be simultaneously available to all participants while the action is occurring.
Tsunamis, earthquakes and nuclear crises in Japan, droughts in China, the “Arab Spring” upheavals, Osama dead, Ratko captured, tornadoes in southern U.S., floods in Australia and, at home, fires in Alberta, floods in Manitoba and Quebec ... These and other situations force us to focus on the question: “What is the state of our emergency preparedness and security?”
The face of public safety is changing because information and communications technologies are permitting First Responders to understand the environment facing them on a mission. For example, if firefighters or police had a complete picture of the event as they were about to respond, they would be better able to deal with the challenges once they arrive on scene. An EMS call could potentially save more lives, for instance, if the paramedics could send high resolution images of the injury to an attending but remote medical specialist.
While the phrase “a once in a lifetime opportunity” often makes us think of a marketing scam or timeshare pressure sales, in this case it is very true. Emergency responders have a once in a lifetime opportunity to obtain 700 MHz broadband spectrum from Industry Canada. This will allow responders the needed spectrum to transfer mission critical data to and from scenes. Once this spectrum is gone it will be gone forever.
Can a local university make a significant difference in regional first responder and homeland security efforts? The answer is yes – if done right. Universities often have the reputation (sometimes deserved, sometimes not) of being intellectually and physically distant from the surrounding community, the classic “ivory tower” analogy. This is somewhat understandable since the historical dual-pronged mission of higher education institutions is to first, educate our post-secondary students, and second, contribute to the continuously expanding body of scholarly knowledge.
The global population is approaching 7 billion people and, combined with the ease and frequency of modern air travel, this gives rise to a rapidly increased public health risk at major world events. Mass gatherings, as they have come to be called, are largely pre-planned events, held for a limited time and attended by more than 25,000 people. These events can include any number of purposes – political, religious, athletic – and can be attended by, for instance, 300,000 rabid soccer fans at a FIFA World Cup, or 2.5 million pilgrims at the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
A few months ago, the concept of a nationwide Canadian emergency management network was just that – a concept, a dream. Today, Partnerships Towards Safer Communities Online (PTSC-Online) is a reality. Its growing membership has a good grasp on current issues facing Canadian emergency managers and are deriving value from their participation in this program.
“Mayday” is the internationally-recognized term used by pilots to communicate an emergency situation to the outside world – from the French word, m’aidez (meaning “Help me”). Of course, According to regulations, Nav Canada Air Traffic Controllers and Flight Service Station Specialists must respond to any statement by a pilot indicating that the crew or aircraft is experiencing difficulties and requires assistance. When a pilot declares an emergency, the aviation system responds as quickly as possible.
If you talk to Alison Redford about what it takes to do her job as Alberta’s Attorney General, her answer isn’t what you would expect from the province’s top lawyer. Crime rates have eased since she was appointed in 2008 but Attorney General Redford would not attribute this success to any one development alone. And, she makes the point that getting tough on crime takes more than just getting tough – it takes getting smart.
The range of highly advanced technology available to first responders is truly astounding. From cognitive radios to real-time field draw screens, record fire perimeters and 3-D personal tracking devices, first responder agencies are inundated with technological choices. Many of these technologies are being developed as spin-outs from defense contracts and grants. Others are entrepreneurial inventions targeted directly toward the primary response market. But what really are the needs of first responders?
Coming in the next edition of FrontLine Security is an examination of the interworkings of organized criminal networks – what are the threats, and what can we do about them. Topics will be targeted at all security stakeholders, including first responders, government security policy managers and every business and individual who is concerned about or has experienced any fraudulent activity or identity theft.
With a syringe, Tostaine inflated a bulb at the end of the tube to open the trachea wider. Then he attached a valve mask – a sort of manual ventilator – and pumped it as Ken lay on the hospital stretcher. Ken’s chest visibly moved up and down.
SWAT Paramedic Training.
“That helped,” a voice said.
What? Was Ken able to talk already?
Internationally, Canadians considered progressive, compassionate, smart, careful, etc. – all positive accolades for sure. But we’re also thought to be a bit naive which isn’t so good when it comes to getting prepared for natural disasters and catastrophic events. Global events over the years have taught us that large scale industrial accidents and super storms can hit without much if any warning.
The 21st century has kicked off with a bang and opened the gates to an interconnected world where domestic and international borders are increasingly blurred. The last decade has witnessed the rise of transnational security threats posed by violent non-state actors, pandemics, climate change, ballooning economies, strains placed upon strategic, non-renewable energy resources, and significant technological advancements.
Much has been occurring in the world of FrontLine Security this spring… some fresh, some less. We are pleased that the federal government has awakened to the seriousness and broad scope of Cyber Security threats and is preparing a policy (hopefully P-3) on this matter, as recently announced by Minister Peter Van Loan. We wish him well with this, and trust that it won’t fall into the “never-ending-meeting-resolve-nothing” route of the “Working Towards” strategy on Critical Infrastructure Security released last year.
After a record snowfall during the 2007-2008 winter in New Brunswick and in the neighbouring province of Quebec and the state of Maine, the St. John River swelled to levels not seen in decades. Flooding forced the closure of major roads, uprooted trees and resulted in the evacuation of many residents living along the St. John River.
Photo: Communications New Brunswick
Reading the latest Report on Emergency Preparedness in Canada from the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, one cannot help but feel the Committee’s frustration, anger and foreboding. While their observations can be sarcastic and glib, they have certainly earned the right to be so.
Most firefighters today receive training that meets the objectives of the First Responder Operational level. Among the many tasks assigned to personnel at this training level are establishing scene control, initiating an incident management system, and performing defensive control functions and emergency decontamination procedures. Training involves classroom and hands-on skills to ensure students are fully capable of performing these and many more vital tasks necessary to ensure that the initial stages of a hazardous materials (hazmat) incident are handled safely and effectively.
Over the past several years, a series of previously unthinkable events have caused the RCMP to consider its state of operational readiness. Sept 11th, Hurricane Katrina, and massive bombings in Madrid and London required extraordinary efforts from a wide range of responding agencies. Here at home, reports of flooding, forest fires, severe weather, blackouts, terrorist threats, and warnings of an inevitable flu pandemic arrive from all quarters on a regular basis.
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) as the lead Federal organization, in cooperation with other stakeholders, have begun to collaboratively develop the first Canadian national standard for personal protective equipment for first responders (fire, police, paramedic, and hospital first receivers) in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident.
Would Canada be able to effectively respond to a Weapons of Mass Destruction attack? A cooperative initiative aimed at providing critical equipment and training to First Responders, is needed to enable them to safely intervene in Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear (CBRN) incidents. The solution – let’s call it a First Responder Rebate Program (FRRP) – would provide the equipment and training necessary for effective and efficient First Responder (FR) rescue operations.
The RCMP is one of many key organizations taking potential health threats seriously, and as such, has been working closely with federal, provincial, territorial and municipal health, government and emergency partners.
I am very pleased to launch FRONTLINE SECURITY in the wake of the change in our national Government. One of the elements that we believe was called for in this change is a clearer and more knowledgeable debate of broader national security issues and their impact on our well-being and democratic society. Our magazine has been designed to offer such a national voice to this debate in a more security-conscious Canadian society. Just as Julian Fantino says of Emergency Preparedness in his interview in this issue, our own magazine is also “a work in progress.”
After 9/11, governments around the globe sprang to respond to the new threat. In Canada, the federal government implemented major structural changes and allocated billions of dollars to strengthen National Security and Public Safety. As well, recent natural catastrophes and public health scares have reminded us that terrorism is not the only danger we face. Although most governments have reacted energetically to these new challenges, the rest of society, including the business community, have for the most part, been sitting on the sidelines.