RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre plays major role for B.C. fire deployment
The RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre (PRTC) has been transformed into a pre and post deployment centre in support of the B.C. wildfires efforts. Since the start of the crisis in early July, hundreds of RCMP police officers and employees have deployed from PRTC to communities in central and southeastern B.C., according to the federal police.
In its day-to-day operations, the Chilliwack based centre is a multi-purpose training facility used by police officers and employees, as well as other first responders and military personnel. The facility offers over 80 courses, from crisis intervention and de-escalation, to vehicle stop scenario training, and includes a firearms range.
RCMP employees and officers who are deploying out of PRTC are doing a variety of jobs including insuring public safety in various communities, managing check points and traffic, and conducting 24-hour patrols. RCMP says, police officers arrive to be briefed on the current wildfire situation every day and gather safety equipment including fit-tested respirators and then board buses that head towards the evacuated areas to relieve other officers currently on duty.
PRTC is also their first stopping point when officers rotate out of wildfire duties. They attend a post-deployment debrief to decompress and are provided peer-to-peer and employee wellness services if required, RCMP notes.
During demobilization debriefs, RCMP say they are hearing police officers return with positive experiences and a desire to redeploy.
“Most of them say that this is why they became police officers — to help people and help communities. It’s extremely rewarding to hear how they enjoyed the experience, even through these difficult and unprecedented times,” says Insp. Larry Montgomery, officer in charge, E Division training services, Pacific Region Training Centre.
Employee wellness checks and wellness program information is provided during initial deployment and after police officers and employees return from their fire deployment. “We also continue to check on them for months afterwards to ensure optimal employee health,” says Cpl. James Lunny, mental health co-ordinator for the RCMP in B.C.
And as the crisis continues, PRTC has become the deployment base and resource centre for those assisting from abroad, involved in fighting the wildfires. PRTC has also been home to approximately 600 firefighters from Australia and Mexico.