RCMP members robbed, not given adequate masks on Fort McMurray duty

One member says they had to find their own paper mask

Thieves made off with ammunition and other items after breaking into the cruisers of two RCMP officers from British Columbia.

The break-in took place in the parking lot of a hotel in Airdrie, Alta., where the officers were staying while on their way home after working on wildfire duty in Fort McMurray, Alta.

RCMP say the stolen items included three magazines loaded with bullets.

A can of pepper spray was also taken, along with two pairs of handcuffs and several items of RCMP clothing.

Meanwhile, an organization representing many rank-and-file RCMP members is alleging officers deployed to the wildfires in Fort McMurray were not provided with adequate masks to protect them from toxic fumes.

The Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada says at least one member has complained of being left on his or her own to find a mask and ending up wearing a “paper dust mask” while exposed to smoke for five days.

Association president Rae Banwarie says in a news release that officers should have been issued with military-style masks but instead were provided with a limited quantity of 3M Model 2097 masks.

The association also complains its members were not given medical examinations following their deployment, “which should have been a mandatory protocol by RCMP management.”

Its members are being asked to submit a hazardous occurrence report and undergo a thorough medical examination in order to “create a base line test by providing blood and urine samples to physicians to document any future health issues that may occur.”

RCMP officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Flames from a massive northern Alberta wildfire are now moving into Saskatchewan, though officials say no communities are currently being threatened.

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