RCMP in two northern Manitoba communities are now using a new rescue tool: off-road transport trailers for stranded residents and criminals.
With exchangeable skis and wheels, the covered trailer pods hitch onto the back of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to safely transport up to two people. The bulbous pods resemble over-sized child carriers that are towed behind bikes, with a few added features.
"It's heated, it's lighted and we can use this year-round," says Sgt. Joe Frizzley, the RCMP detachment commander in Thompson, Man. "We're excited to use this for both enforcement and emergency response needs."
The Pas and Thompson, Man., RCMP detachments each purchased a pod last February. S/Sgt. Brent Mattice, commander of The Pas detachment, said the idea came from local emergency services who use a similar pod as an off-road ambulance.
"First and foremost, if someone was ever injured in an isolated area, we can put them right into this pod and take the quickest route we can to safety," says Mattice. "You have a covering — it's totally enclosed so passengers are protected from the elements."
Until now, police used an open sleigh to transport people who were stranded in remote areas. The new pod allows local RCMP to carry injured people more safely, securely and with greater comfort.
Mattice says the pods will also be used to respond to snowmobile and ATV crashes in the bush. Alcohol is often a factor in these accidents, so the detachments needed a way to transport individuals charged with impaired driving.
"The pod has a capability to hold a chair, so if someone is arrested we can safely secure them and bring them back to the office for breathalyzer tests," says Mattice.
Frizzley says the pods aren't limited to carrying people — they can also be used to carry sensitive equipment and electronics to remote crime scenes.
While the pods haven't been used yet, both Frizzley and Mattice agree this will be an integral tool for their units.
"We do have scenes that are in the middle of nowhere," says Frizzley. "Especially in the North, it gives us an avenue to get our people out safely."