MP Bill Casey has asked the Auditor General of Canada, Mr. Michael Ferguson, to review the proposal by the RCMP to consolidate both their Operational Communication Centers in Dartmouth. Casey provided four reports by leading authorities in Emergency Communications which all state that redundancy is a key to ensuring a safe emergency communication system. The RCMP plan eliminates this redundancy which is currently in place.
At present, the RCMP have one emergency communication center in Truro and one in Dartmouth near the RCMP Headquarters.This 100 kilometer distance provides the geographic distance recommended in these reports in order to ensure that at least one facility is operational. The RCMP proposal removes this safety measure.
“Just ten days ago a perceived bomb threat caused the closure and evacuation of the Coast Guard facilities in Dartmouth. If both of the Communications centers and the RCMP Headquarters were closed and evacuated because they are all located in Dartmouth, most of the province would be without 911 service, fire or ambulance communications. Police communications would be severely curtailed,” explained Casey.
One source has reported to Casey that in recent years, Halifax Regional Police have investigated over 70 bomb threats and laid charges in five. Seven were reported in one 48 hour span.
Casey has asked the RCMP to hold off any decision until the Auditor General compares the four emergency measures reports with the plans of the RCMP.
He added that the Parliamentary Security Services examined the failure of communications during the 2014 shootings in the Parliament of Canada.Their study concluded that a second off site communications center was required to provide redundancy. Again, the RCMP plan to eliminate the redundancy they currently have in Nova Scotia by moving locating both communication centers in Dartmouth.
“I am not an expert in emergency communications but these organizations are. They can’t all be wrong,” said Casey.
Below are quotes from the four reports:
The 2004 RCMP Report specifically recommended that “the RCMP not locate their primary OCC within the Halifax Regional Municipality”, and “the OCC Primary service delivery site be outside of HRM due to risks of placing 2 largest police communications centres in close proximity to each other”.
None of the facts that caused that conclusion have changed; if anything, the threats are even greater today. The RCMP erased these critical comments in the copy provided to Casey.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is considered the lead authority in emergency communications. Their recent report entitled the “2019 National Fire Protection Association #1221 requires that “ #18.104.22.168 The alternative communications center shall be separated geographically from the primary communications center at a distance that ensures the survivability of the alternative center.”
The RCMP proposal is just the reverse of this requirement.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 2009 report states “Organizations should have adequate, separate locations to ensure execution of their functions. Physical dispersion should allow for easy transfer of function responsibility in the events of a problem at one location.”
Again the RCMP proposal is exactly the opposite of this requirement.
The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) 2015 Report states “Redundant and resilient systems are needed to continue operation when a failure causes the loss or damage of a needed resource”. T
The RCMP plan is to eliminate that redundancy. The NENA Report recommends “two layers of redundancy” and also states that emergency call Centers “face more risks and threats than ever before”. “