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‘Defence’ doesn’t fit the job of Canada’s military any more. Let’s create a Department of National Safety instead

mariomike

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But can they shovel snow?
Were you there? Ever seen the impact a snowstorm can have on 9-1-1 services in a major city? The amount of civil liability involved?

 

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Colin Parkinson

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I think you've just described BC's Rap Attack program, staffed mainly with male and female students during the summer months.

This would never work in the CAF though because the fitness tests are so hard that they fail alot of those who apply :)

Rapattack Program​

Rapattack crews​

Rapattack crews are an initial attack resource capable of quickly responding to wildfires that occur in areas that are hard-to-access by foot or by vehicle, and where there are no suitable landing areas for helicopters nearby. Rapattack crews normally rappel from rotary-wing aircraft (i.e. helicopters) in order to perform initial attack fire suppression action.

Rapattack response operations​

Rapattack resources are typically called upon for the following incidents:

  • remote access initial attack fires,
  • fire suppression in difficult-to-access areas on sustained action fires,
  • remote access medical emergencies (capable of hoist extraction for injured persons),
  • helipad construction in remote areas to allow helicopters to land and deliver more personnel and equipment.

Rapattack personnel​

B.C.’s 41 certified rapattack firefighters are based in the Kamloops Fire Centre in the Vernon Fire Zone.

Rapattack history​

The BC Wildfire Service Rapattack Program started in 1977 in Lower Post, B.C. In 1979, the program relocated to its present location in Salmon Arm, B.C., in order to be centrally located to the majority of fires that require rapattack response.

Rapattack rappel and hoist-equipped aircraft​

The Province's long-term contracted aircraft fleet includes three medium-lift helicopters equipped with rappel and hoist equipment, as well as belly tanks. Rapattack personnel, along with their helicopters, may be repositioned anywhere in the province to allow for faster response to anticipated incidents that may occur in areas otherwise difficult to access.


Rapattack is the SF of the Fire Service, but i think there is room for a broader Civil Emergency Service, with a core group that maintains equipment and corporate knowledge and a seasonal hiring cycle.
 

lenaitch

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I was not a member. But, I was familiar with Toronto ( CAN-TF3 ) Heavy Urban Search and Rescue.

CAN-TF3 is operated by Toronto Fire Services, in collaboration with Toronto Police Service and Toronto Paramedic Services.

HUSAR CAN-TF3 members are City of Toronto employees. But, they are able to respond to disaster situations at a city, provincial and national level, as well as offer international assistance.

I think what they need most from the federal government is funding.




If the Elliot Lake collapse is an example, what they are lacking is a clear accountability structure. Probably not their fault but there was much confusion around who was in charge. I believe that, since then, Emergency Management Ontario has, or is, funding HUSAR in several cities, if for no other reason than response times. To me it is really more of a Fire and Emergency Services mandate than that of the police.
 

lenaitch

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I really don't see Public Safety Canada having a primary on-the-ground role; more of a coordinating role. Stockpiles of emergency supplies (PPE, emergency equipment, etc.), sure, but that can also be solved through national standards. One problem is, if it were some kind of national agency, what do they train for? Sure, there are some cross-overs, but training and equipping a bunch of folks to fight wildland fires may not be of much use when it is a major flood or BC shakes to the ground (or Toronto needs snow shovelling :))

Then you have the pesky matter of jurisdiction. When does a fire become a 'really big' fire, or do the feds fight all fires (assuming outside of organized municipal boundaries). The provinces, and municipalities with provinces, have mutual aid agreements to draw on resources. In BC's current case, I'm curious why they chose to call in crews from Mexico when Atlantic Canada seems to be having a pretty quiet season.
 

Good2Golf

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…Then you have the pesky matter of jurisdiction. When does a fire become a 'really big' fire, or do the feds fight all fires (assuming outside of organized municipal boundaries). The provinces, and municipalities with provinces, have mutual aid agreements to draw on resources. In BC's current case, I'm curious why they chose to call in crews from Mexico when Atlantic Canada seems to be having a pretty quiet season.
$$$
 

Fishbone Jones

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I think OldTanker makes some good points. My issue with the article isn't with the priorities that Dr. Patterson highlights, but rather with his presentation of this as a binary issue. EITHER the Military OR those other priorities. I think that's a very simplistic and naive argument. Yes many of the things that he points out as issues that need to be addressed are very important. So is the military.

A wealthy country like Canada should be able to fund both. Emergency preparedness equipment and supplies, disaster response teams, medical support for at risk communities, domestic vaccine production, clean drinking water for Reserves that have been under boil water advisories for decades, etc. are all things we as a wealthy G7 nation should be able to afford in addition to an appropriately sized and equipped military.

The best way to provide these things almost certainly isn't a new, expansive, all-covering Federal Government Department. Some items might be best supported by the CF as they are now. Some by the Provinces and/or municipalities, some by volunteer organizations and others through tax laws or public-private partnerships.

The important point though is that we should take these risks seriously (including the military risks) and ensure that they are being addressed.
1.3 trillion in debt. Not exactly wealthy. We're wealthy in resources, but the grits won't let us at them. And every penny the fed takes from us ends up overseas in some shithole with no accountability or paper trail.

Anyway, I do like the idea though. Maybe one big equipment depot centralized to known disaster areas in each province, with a few satellite depots for immediate action. Maybe something like old SSTP, but instead of military we train them on chainsaws and pumps. Over time, we should have people all over that have an idea what needs doing instead of waiting for a militia unit a province away.
 

Booter

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I think my main opposition to the idea is- if the CF is always fighting yesterday’s conflict, the public service is really no better- it settles into its own language and operations and the beaurcracy is set up so that it’s next Monday looks like it’s last.

it’s not an agile system designed to meet emerging issues. It’s designed with narrow lanes that when left to its own devices- meets the goals of the “public service” more than the commanders intent of whatever corner it is put in to, in my experience.

The stockpiling and reserve depot things have been tried. Not with spectacular results.

Critics have wondered why Ottawa let its stockpile of crucial medical equipment sit expired for five years. They also wonder why Ottawa doesn't have a plan to cycle supplies out of the stockpile before they expire so they can be put to use.

I apologize- it doesn’t seem like my quotes are embedding like yours. I’ll go back into the posting guidelines

I am in favour of provincial agencies, led by rescue personnel building these systems. Having done projects with a variety of aspects of the public service and been involved in large procurement, asset management and trying to get large known issues addressed in a quick manner- I don’t see the fed service as ever producing something viable and timely.
 

lenaitch

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I think my main opposition to the idea is- if the CF is always fighting yesterday’s conflict, the public service is really no better- it settles into its own language and operations and the beaurcracy is set up so that it’s next Monday looks like it’s last.

it’s not an agile system designed to meet emerging issues. It’s designed with narrow lanes that when left to its own devices- meets the goals of the “public service” more than the commanders intent of whatever corner it is put in to, in my experience.

The stockpiling and reserve depot things have been tried. Not with spectacular results.

Critics have wondered why Ottawa let its stockpile of crucial medical equipment sit expired for five years. They also wonder why Ottawa doesn't have a plan to cycle supplies out of the stockpile before they expire so they can be put to use.

I apologize- it doesn’t seem like my quotes are embedding like yours. I’ll go back into the posting guidelines

I am in favour of provincial agencies, led by rescue personnel building these systems. Having done projects with a variety of aspects of the public service and been involved in large procurement, asset management and trying to get large known issues addressed in a quick manner- I don’t see the fed service as ever producing something viable and timely.
I would suggest provincial and municipal agencies fare no better. Spending today's money, for example, to acquire, store and maintain equipment and supplies - including the staff to do it - is a tough sell with taxpayers. There is likely support for that right now for PPE, but it will wane.

On a related note, BC reserves it's public alert system for tsunamis only. Residents in the interior can just feel the love.

 

mariomike

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That little snow squall? Naw, I was still recovering from the great ice storm of '98. Now that was a storm.
The Great Ice Storm of '98 certainly was a storm. I wasn't involved in it. But, our division sent an Emergency Power Unit ( EPU ) truck.

Over 15,000 CAF members were involved, making "Operation Recuperation" the largest peacetime deployment of troops in Canadian history.

By comparison, 400 troops were deployed in Toronto. 1999 was the only time they were called in during my career.

In North America ( excluding Los Angeles and Mexico City ) only NYC is bigger than Toronto.

Headlines from there during snowstorms,

"FDNY EMS has a aprox 5 hour delay to Emergencies. FDNY personal are advised not to do CPR more then 20 min due to high vol of jobs."

FDNY-EMS reported a backlog of 1,300 9-1-1 calls and a 3-hour to 12-hour delay in response to critical cases, including cardiac arrests and heart attacks.

A report of a mother unable to breath. Her daughter called 9-1-1, but could not get through for 50 minutes. A neighbour administered CPR, but EMS was unable to arrive for another 45 minutes, and they still had to walk to her house. The lady did not survive.

A man died of a heart attack after it took paramedics three-and-a-half hours to arrive.

A 22-year-old pregnant woman started contractions. Because of the ambulance delay, she began walking from her home to the hospital, but couldn't make it. She stopped in a building lobby. 911 was called again at 8:30 a.m. By 4:30 p.m. she had started crowning and 911 was called again. Around 5:20 p.m. police arrived (by foot since driving was impossible) and found the woman attempting to leave and walk to the hospital again. She was brought back inside and the baby was delivered. Despite the efforts of police and neighbors the baby was lost.

That's when the Wrongful Death lawsuits start coming in against the City,

Family of NYC Woman Who Died in Blizzard Plans $20M Lawsuit
Suffering a heart attack during the New York City blizzard after Christmas, Yvonne Freeman "never had a chance," her daughter says, because an ambulance took three hours to reach her over unplowed streets. By the time it got there, it was too late.
Now Freeman's family is planning a $20 million lawsuit against the city -- the first blizzard-related wrongful death case.":

Which is why U.S. troops - pictured here - are routinely deployed in NYC when snowstorms are predicted.

I read about troops wanting to help our emergency services. I only saw them in action that one time in this town. But, they did help. :salute:





 

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Halifax Tar

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Or accept that we have limited capacity. Reduce the army to be a stronger reserve with some trade exceptions, keep and reinforce the airforce and navy as the standing reg force and maintain a robust SOF and cyber capability.

I have said as much in another thread. We really should drastically shrink the Army into an almost purley reserve organization and make our focus Sea, Air and SOF/Cyber.
 

Booter

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I would suggest provincial and municipal agencies fare no better. Spending today's money, for example, to acquire, store and maintain equipment and supplies - including the staff to do it - is a tough sell with taxpayers. There is likely support for that right now for PPE, but it will wane.

On a related note, BC reserves it's public alert system for tsunamis only. Residents in the interior can just feel the love.

I think I may be biased because watching the big machine break down I assume, naively, that smaller machines MUST be more efficient.
 

lenaitch

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I think I may be biased because watching the big machine break down I assume, naively, that smaller machines MUST be more efficient.

Having been involved, at a fairly minor level, with federal agencies, provincial/municipal governments and agencies do tend to be more efficient/better managed, but they are still public bodies, so everything is relative I suppose.
 

mariomike

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Having been involved, at a fairly minor level, with federal agencies, provincial/municipal governments and agencies do tend to be more efficient/better managed, but they are still public bodies, so everything is relative I suppose.
Opinions vary. 🤷‍♂️
As a Federal regulator I found Municipalities the worse for evading regs and overstepping their boundaries.
 

MarkOttawa

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Note this German agency (Canada now does not have a serious, autonomous federal emergency/disaster agency like FEMA because until recently very big natural blow-ups were fairly infrequent--unlike in the US--and pols could always call in the forces):
Civil protection

The Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is a cornerstone of civil protection in Germany and helps in case of natural disasters and accidents.


Building of the Federal Technical Relief Agency

Source: THW
The THW is known for providing rapid and efficient technical relief in emergencies anywhere in Germany. For example, THW volunteers are on the spot after storms to pump out flooded basements, clear streets of fallen branches and brace buildings at risk of collapsing.

Mission​

The THW provides technical relief


  1. in accordance with the Federal Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Act,
  2. abroad on behalf of the Federal Government,
  3. to manage disasters, public emergencies and large-scale accidents at the request of the authorities responsible for threat prevention,
  4. to meet public responsibilities as referred to in nos. 1 through 3 where it has agreed to do so.
Volunteer commitment

Volunteering is the backbone of the THW: 99 per cent of those who work for the THW are volunteers. Nationwide, the THW has about 80,000 volunteers who provide professional assistance in their free time.

Volunteer commitment is invaluable not just for the THW but for our entire society. To volunteer or find out more about the THW, please contact your local THW unit or office.

Volunteers are elected to represent the needs and interests of the roughly 80,000 THW staff in all key decisions and developments.

668 local THW units

In Germany and abroad, THW volunteers are ready to help in case of emergency. To this end, they undergo basic training in various subject areas and regular skills training.

THW staff are prepared for their civil protection tasks in the 668 local THW units. Advanced training, for example as boat commanders, tracking specialists, team leaders or team members for international missions, is provided at the THW’s own federal training academy, the THW-Bundesschule.

You can find further information on the website of the THW.

Mark
Ottawa
 

daftandbarmy

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Having been involved, at a fairly minor level, with federal agencies, provincial/municipal governments and agencies do tend to be more efficient/better managed, but they are still public bodies, so everything is relative I suppose.

Like the Army?
 

lenaitch

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Opinions vary. 🤷‍♂️
Oh for sure. I'm not saying the provinces and municipalities are paragons of corporate efficiency but, in my opinion, don't have the inertia and massive layers of stifling redundancies, or at least not to the same level. On a very basic level, when I was still gainfully employed, I could have an expense account payment in my bank account in a handful of days, unlike our daughter (a federal employee) who regularly waits several months.
 
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