Burnaby RCMP activated cold weather response

Patrols assisted vulnerable people in the city during the Arctic outflow event of last week

Burnaby RCMP activated its extreme-weather response last week by sending out additional patrols to help vulnerable members of the community access shelters and other services. 

“We’re taking every step we possibly can to ensure the safety of our community members, so the RCMP has brought in overtime members working throughout the night shift. Their specific job is to roam the streets, looking for people in need and help them get access to warming shelters,” said Sgt. Neil Jones, who supervises the RCMP’s Police Mental Health and Homelessness Outreach Team (PMHOT) and Community Response Team (CRT).  

Burnaby RCMP cold-weather care pack. Photo: Burnaby RCMP

Patrols roamed the city for three nights, actively seeking out vulnerable community members who needed help accessing emergency shelters. Jones supervises a team of 23 people, 15 of whom were working on Friday, and he assigned all 15 to be outside and connect people with emergency services. Two full-time members of Burnaby RCMP patrolled the streets for the past three nights looking for people who needed help. 

“Last night, our overtime members who were working specifically for this, they had contact with about a dozen people in the community, and they helped four of those people get to warming shelters. They took them in a warm police car and drove them to the shelter at their request,” Jones told the Beacon on Friday. 

As the cold weather continues, there are four shelters Burnaby residents can access: Progressive Housing Society’s shelter is at 2294 Douglas Road, Neighbourhood Church is at 7135 Walker Ave., and Westminster Bible Chapel is at 7540 6th St. The Buller Warming Shelter at 7320 Buller Avenue is open 24 hours. 

“The RCMP is trying to help as much as possible, but we can’t do it alone,” Jones said, adding that if residents are concerned about someone in the community, they can call either the non-emergency line or the emergency line if necessary and request a police check on the welfare of the person. 

He added that anyone in an emergency should act fast: “If they’re close to a restaurant or a Tim Hortons and feel that they’re imminently at risk and they need to get shelter, they should get themselves warm and ask for help.” They can also reach out to police, ambulance services, or call 911. 

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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