Londoners near the Wolseley Barracks may be noticing a bit more action than normal this weekend, with the Canadian Armed Forces 31 Canadian Brigade Group running realistic disaster scenarios.
The planned training is especially relevant since soldiers are practising for similar scenarios to the mass flooding in British Columbia right now.
“It’s ironic that we are here at our headquarters when a similar headquarters has been deployed to assist in the flooding situations, so our service is very relevant in that it’s a real-life situation,” said Lt. Col. Alex Colic.
Approximately 100 soldiers from the local army reserve are running an exercise based on a simulated emergency scenario in Ontario.
The scenario is designed to provide a realistic, simulated reaction to a request for assistance (RFA) from a Canadian community, like the COVID-19 pandemic, an ice storm or a natural gas leak.
B.C. flooding — 350 military personnel ‘ready to be deployed’ from Edmonton
With climate change making issues like forest fires or flooding more common, Colic said it’s important that military members are trained to respond at a moment’s notice.
“All of this is designed so when the Canadian government requests assistance, we are able to mobilize high-performing teams and send them anywhere across Canada in order to support our fellow Canadians,” Colic said.
A semi-permanent tent-like structure is set up on the ground of the Wolseley Barracks, which can house up to 150 soldiers and serves as a mobile command base with flooring, heating, lighting and insulation.
Navy Lt. Andrew McLaughlin noted that the Canadian Army Reserves has two jobs: one to help overseas missions, and the second to help Canadians in need.
“Being there for Canadians when they need us there the most, and that means in crisis situations when Canadian communities go through the request for assistance process and find themselves in need, the CAF is able to step in.”
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