Alberta RCMP Sergeant Major update for RCMPVA: Fort McMurray wildfire

The RCMP Veterans’ Association received the following update on RCMP operations dealing with the wildfire situation in the city of Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta:

My purpose in writing today is to advise our Veterans about the current status of RCMP operations in the Fort McMurray area. I also want to emphasize what steps have been taken to assist our RCMP personnel from the Wood Buffalo Detachment.

The wildfire situation in the Wood Buffalo Region is far from resolved, with fire crews still hard at work trying to get things under control. The good news is that first responder efforts have been successful in restoring some sense of order within the evacuation zone, and each passing day sees new milestones achieved in the long road back to a safe community.

The past week has been very busy for everyone in the division, and especially for RCMP employees posted to Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) Detachment, many of whom worked throughout the early days of the emergency after their families evacuated and without knowing what would become of their homes. So far, there have been no reports of physical injury to emergency personnel working in Fort McMurray.

Wood Buffalo Detachment employees have all been relieved of their duties for 14 days and an assessment of their health and personal circumstances will determine when they will return to duty. Their duties have been assumed by RCMP personnel from throughout Alberta, with Regular Members and some civilian personnel from divisions in British Columbia (“E”), Saskatchewan (“F”), Manitoba (“D”) and Newfoundland and Labrador (“B”) arriving in Fort McMurray today to help out.

Personnel are being housed in safe accommodation in the Wood Buffalo area and travelling to and from Edmonton by charter bus.

It is too early to determine with any accuracy how much damage occurred at the homes of our employees, but we know that some did sustain damage in the fire.

On Saturday, along with members of her senior management team, the Commanding Officer met a contingent of Fort McMurray Detachment members and employees who had just arrived from the north. This meeting took place at a reception centre set up in Edmonton at the ALERT building.

Wood Buffalo Detachment Commander Superintendent Rob McCloy is overseeing the support of members and employees. This will continue throughout the coming weeks as we ensure these members of the RCMP family receive the referrals, financial support and Peer-to-Peer attention they require.

When Deputy Commissioner Ryan met our members and employees on Saturday, it was clear they had been through a difficult few days but their spirits were high.

When news of the fires hit, the Veteran’s Association was quick to offer help out of concern for the RCMP employees directly impacted by the emergency. At this point I can assure you the needs of our members and employees are being addressed.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to the members of the Veterans’ Association for your support at this challenging time. The ongoing work is unprecedented in scope and we may need to reach out to the Vets in the coming days and weeks.

Kevin McGillivray
Alberta RCMP Sergeant Major