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.
Providing information that will help our frontline responders keep us safer and more secure is the overriding objective of FrontLine Safety and Security. To this end, I am always on the lookout for ideas, research, and other materials that can be presented to our readers. In our Winter edition of the magazine, we will be focusing on police analytics.
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.
When four Alberta Mounties were gunned down on a farm just outside the small town of Mayerthorpe in March 2005, it sent shock waves through the RCMP. A fatalities inquiry in 2011 concluded that there was no way such an event could have been foreseen. A decade later, however, some observers say the RCMP still haven’t learned the lessons of Mayerthorpe – even after the similar tragedy in Moncton in June of 2014. These two tragic incidents have become intertwined, both indicative of the inertia that exists when it comes to making changes within the RCMP.
Right on the heels of the Independent Review into the Moncton Shooting, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) suffered another violent gun attack on their stretched line of operational officers – this time near Edmonton – killing Const. David Wynn, and seriously injuring an unarmed Auxiliary officer.
No matter how prepared frontline workers consider themselves, there is inevitably a huge sense of shock when a disaster or catastrophe occurs. Strategies for dealing with disasters, both man-made and natural, include providing training for emergency responders and health professionals in disaster intervention strategies. Dr Nicola Davies examines the mental training Search and Rescue (SAR) workers undergo to make more effective decisions and avoid mental trauma.
Elected officials are being called upon to speak up immediately in the House of Commons and Senate with concerns about Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act (Bill C-42) as details emerge about regulations being drafted which would see RCMP members facing a Code of Conduct investigation having fewer rights than other Canadians charged with crimes.
The mind is the most powerful tool we have at our disposal, and its abilities shouldn’t be taken for granted. Memories stored in our brain constitute a large part of who we are, and our long-term memory allows us to memorize not only facts, but also repetitive physical movements. This is known as muscle memory, or motor learning, a type of procedural memory that is developed by programming a specific motor task or movement into the brain’s memory through repetition.
Providing adequate fire protection services for citizens in smaller municipalities throughout the vast Canadian landscape creates obvious financial challenges. In fact, many are currently looking at options to lessen the costs of providing all forms of emergency services. Most of these smaller towns and villages lack the resources to maintain a fire department comprised entirely of professional firefighters, as is the standard in major urban centres.
The current generation of simulator is a technological marvel – putting lone officers or groups onto realistic firing ranges or into a selection of the hundreds of interactive, video-based scenarios to confront a range of threats with a variety of resource options. Training systems can be packed into one travel case for delivery to remote locations, and set it up in a matter of minutes for training or qualifying.
Transport Canada issued a “protective direction” on November 20th, requiring the major railway companies to provide detailed information on their cargoes to municipalities and first responders – but the quarterly and annual reports will only cover what had been shipped in the previous three months and 12 months, respectively. At best, it would give municipalities and first responders a feel for what has already gone through their jurisdictions, not what’s coming (somewhat akin to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted).
First Responders strive to keep the public safe during emergencies. Such careers often put their own safety at risk, and yet we regularly hear stories of courage in the face of those perils.
On Tuesday 16 October 2012, unarmed Canada Border Services Officer Lori Bowcock was shot and wounded in the line of duty at the Peace Arch border station in British Columbia.
Officer Bowcock was one of many recently-graduated officers of the CBSA College in Rigaud, Quebec, who had yet to complete the mandatory arming initiative that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has instituted for new recruits.
During the manhunt for the suspected Boston Marathon bombers in April, hundreds of thousands of people listened to police radio communications live over the Internet as hobbyists rebroadcast messages. Listeners then passed on information via Twitter, so that hundreds of thousands more learned how the hunt was proceeding from their computers, iPhones and BlackBerries, in very close to real time.
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.
John is a 40-year-old police officer who recently sought medical attention for repeated nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and vivid flashbacks of a traumatic encounter he experienced over six months ago while on duty.
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.
In the fall of 2001, Canada’s federal government took steps to enhance preparedness through new programs and funding aimed specifically at countering terrorism. In its budget of December 12, 2001, the government committed $7.7 billion to bolster defences against terrorism which could have devastating affects on national security, the economy and collective psyche. Of this funding, $170 million was given to the federal S&T community to address Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) hazards or weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
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.
Ensuring the personal protection of enforcement officers is a complex task. Take the need for body armour for example. Canadian soldiers on the streets Kandahar, as they attempt to bring stability to the region and win the hearts and minds of the local populace, or enforcement officers in Canada, as they sprint after armed insurgents, require protection that is lightweight and yet protects against high-energy projectiles.