Communications a vital link

Wildfires have destroyed vast swaths of forests, threatened communities and burned homes, and in the middle of it all, RCMP’s radio techs are focussed on keeping approximately 500 radio repeater sites around the province working, to help provide a critical link in an emergency.

RCMP cover most of BC’s landmass, including remote communities and many areas that don’t have cell coverage. In order to protect the public and police officers, the radio repeater sites relay transmissions from dispatchers to the radio units in the cars and carried by police officers.

“From a public safety perspective, this is mission critical equipment,” said Sgt. Jason Reader, currently working as a liaison between the BC RCMP’s fires management team and the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre's Critical Infrastructure Team.

Fires have burned through or around several repeater sites so far, but none of the RCMP repeaters have gone down. Most recently in north-central BC, two RCMP radio technicians travelled to a remote location to check on the RCMP repeater.

Reader said a non-RCMP repeater was adjacent to it, and was completely destroyed, while the insulated aluminum around the RCMP repeater survived the heat and flames.

The two technicians, civilian members of the RCMP, also came across a hot spot that had reignited on their way to the repeater, and had to use water bottles, cooler water, rakes and whatever else they could find in their truck to put the new fire out.

“Our staff have to endure some rather extreme weather conditions – accessing mountain-top sites via helicopter in the winter, hanging off towers to get to the repeaters. We’ve also equipped our staff to spend the night if they need to in all cases, include during the wild fires,” said Reader.

“Without these repeaters, we’d be forced to rely on cell phones which of course don’t have service available in many areas. Additionally, on a cell you can only call one person at a time – with the radios, multiple police officers can listen and provide support and respond if needed.”

More BC News

Vancouver Webcam
Webcam provided by webcams.travel
Recent Trending
Okanagan Oldies
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada