Training for disaster: Calgary’s Rescue Task Force

Training for disaster: Calgary’s Rescue Task Force
Calgary’s emergency services have partnered to train for Rescue Task Force (RTF) with the aim of better responding to disasters in the city.

RTF training is a collaboration between the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department, emergency medical services and Calgary 911.

According to officials, RTF training formalizes the existing and daily collaboration between the city’s first responders, allowing them to work cohesively during major events.

“We had services that were working cooperatively in the past are now truly integrating,” CFD Deputy Chief Mark Turik said. “Now they come on scene, we get leadership and command people and they can recognize each other and get into the same vehicle or work together across the hood of a vehicle and start to solve problems immediately.”

The training focused on the rescue and care of casualties from emergency situations, like environmental disasters or potential acts of mass violence.

It also focuses on integrating emergency resources to ensure the safety of first responders during active emergencies.

“Everybody makes an assumption that we know what everybody is doing,” Randy Bryksa with Alberta Health Services EMS said. “There is no longer an assumption, it’s actually us understanding what each other is doing now.”

When the emergency responders form the RTF to respond to an incident, all agencies involved maintain their own authority, and officials believe the unified command helps eliminate communication challenges.

“We face a lot of communication challenges,” CPS Insp. Sheldon Scott said. “There’s delays on information being relayed from one service to another, the understanding of roles and responsibilities, whether you’re on front lines or command positions. That’s clarified a lot of that.”

The training took place at the old Greyhound Station and simulated an active shooter situation.

The strategy is part of a new set of teachings being implemented across North America in order to get to patients more efficiently and get them to hospital while working with other organizations.
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