A Story Before the Smoke: From Training Centre to Fire Deployment and Resource Centre


2017-08-13 14:18 PDT

The RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre (PRTC) has been transformed into a pre and post deployment centre in support of the BC 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 BC.

In its day-to-day operations, the centre located in Chilliwack, 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 for the BC Wildfires are doing a variety of jobs including insuring public safety in various communities, managing check points and traffic, and conducting 24-hour patrols. Every day at PRTC, police officers arrive to be briefed on the current wildfire situation, gather safety equipment including fit-tested respirators and then board buses that head towards the evacuated areas to relieve other officers currently on duty.
RCMP police officers gets fitted with respirator

RCMP officers gather safety equipment and prepare to board the bus for deployment to various fire locations

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.

During our demobilization debriefs, we are hearing our 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 Coordinator for the RCMP in BC.

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.

Upon their arrival, they settle in and adjust to the time zone over the first couple of days while attending briefings and getting up to speed on the current wildfire situation. Once they have a chance to adjust, they are deployed to assist the BC Wildfire Service, dispersing into various areas to relieve other firefighters, allowing them much needed recovery and rest time.

Australian firefighters sit through debriefing and deployment instructions

Mexican firefighters arrive at PRTC and get debriefed

The RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre is running as a 24-hour operation to ensure the safety of our officers and partners who ensure the safety of our communities as public safety remains our top priority.


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