BC has an eye in the sky

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is helping to save lives and reduce claims. ICBC helped the RCMP purchase two helicopters, Air 1 and Air 2 for use in Metro Vancouver. The plan is to reduce accidents and improve overall public safety.

Air 1 was purchased in 2006 and Air 2 became part of the RCMP air force this winter.

The two helicopters help police officers track suspects fleeing from a crime scene, or pursue speeding vehicles on highways. Once the helicopter is involved then the police cars stand down from chase.This prevents accidents as a result of police cars racing after a suspect, running red lights and possibly hitting other vehicles.

The helicopters are used for other types of service calls. The infrared camera on board detects abnormal heat sources coming from the roof and is useful for find majirjuana grow operations indoors. The helicopter has been used to track aggressive drivers, hit and runs and quick response on a break-in.

The BC RCMP have six airplanes and four other helicopters. The helicopters Air 3 (Kelowna), Air 4 (Kamloops), Air 5 (Vancouver), and Air 6 (Comox) have different mandates. The duties for these units include transportation of units which specialize in functions for that specific area. This could include mountain search and rescue, rural crime, dive emergency teams and specialty engineers.

The insurance answer is prevention is always better then paying out after an accident has occurred. Another example of this type of public service is the hail seeding program in Alberta.