London's army reserve soldiers training for potential Canadian natural disasters
LONDON, ONT. -- Behind the gates at London's Wolseley Barracks approximately 80 soldiers were preparing for a potential Canadian natural disaster.
Using a mobile command, the 31 Canadian Brigade Group's (31 CBG) Territorial Battalion Group (TBG), were operating at an intense and realistic operational tempo training in order to respond if needed to Canadian communities.
"We run these simulated emergency response scenarios to practice communications between, and movement of, Army personnel so that we’re prepared to help Canadians wherever we’re needed," says Colonel Joe Robinson, Commander 31 CBG.
Whenever the call for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) assistance comes again, we’ll be ready."
This specific weekend exercise is called 'Exercise Trillium Dragon'.
It is part of training for Operation LENTUS, the CAF's response to natural disasters in Canada.
“If recent history is an indicator of future needs, we can expect to deploy to help Canadians in need, any time, at a moment’s notice," says Chief Warrant Officer Ray Morris, Regimental Sergeant Major, 4 Royal Canadian Regiment.
"With that reality clearly in focus, this was an opportunity for our soldiers to test their readiness to respond to communities in need, ensuring we can provide experienced and professional forces that are well-organized and effective.”
The exercise was based on a simulated domestic emergency scenario within Ontario, and the local Army Reserve’s capacity to respond to it by commanding, communicating with, and moving virtual forces.
It was specifically designed to provide a realistic, simulated reaction to a Request for Assistance (RFA) from a Canadian community; the type of scenario that could arise during natural and other disasters like flooding, ice storms, or even pandemic situations like COVID-19.
Because of the pandemic no one but CAF personnel were allowed inside the gates.
"We are taking extreme measures to make sure we are abiding by those protocols and we are also including it into our planning protocols for a potential call out like Operation LENTUS," says Morris.