British Columbia

VPD launches new rescue task force to respond to deadly threat situations

The Vancouver Police Department is rolling out a new joint rescue task force with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, BC Emergency Health Services and E-Comm to respond to deadly threat situations.

'We need to train, practice and prepare, but hope never to deploy'

A new joint task force in Vancouver has been trained to rescue victims in the case of deadly threat situations such as a lone-wolf gunman attack. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The Vancouver Police Department is rolling out a new joint rescue task force that will combine its manpower with firefighters and first responders to respond to deadly threat situations.

According to VPD Supt. Steve Eely, the task force evolved in response to active deadly threats in other parts of the world. An active deadly threat is when an individual is killing or attempting to kill people, generally in a confined or populated area, usually with a firearm.

The newly created task force that will handle such an attack in Vancouver includes the VPD, Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, BC Emergency Health Services and E-Comm which manages 911 calls.

By partnering and training with other emergency services personnel, we can ensure a more effective response that will help to keep victims alive by getting them medical treatment much faster, said Eely.

With this new rescue task force, police will assume responsibility for locating an active deadly threat and making the area safe. Police will then work with firefighters to stabilize and extract wounded people to designated safe zones where they can be treated by paramedics and transported to hospital. 

"It is unfortunate that the possibility of an active threat exists," said Fire Rescue Services spokesperson Jonathan Gormick. "We need to train, practice and prepare, but hope never to deploy." 

More than 700 Vancouver police officers and 400 firefighters have been trained so far.

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