Hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces members and first responders train in Wasaga Beach

With fire season upon us, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) worked with local first responders in Wasaga Beach on Saturday to increase their preparedness in the event of a domestic emergency.

Together they participated in a joint training exercise to practice their response to a simulated wildfire.

“We must ensure that our people are trained and understand how to collaborate, communicate with and assist in strengthening civilian governments,” said Lt. Col. Jason Moriche.

The more than 200 troops from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden were joined by Wasaga Beach Firefighters, County of Simcoe paramedics and OPP officers.

A collaboration between three levels of emergency services Wasaga Beach Fire Chief Craig Williams said this is a critical part of responding to a domestic disaster.

“It is a unique opportunity to train together. We are eager to train with the Canadian Armed Forces and be prepared to work together if a larger emergency arises,” Williams said.

The troops and first responders practiced rescue exercises such as victim care, evacuation, search and rescue and fighting a simulated wildfire.

“In Canada, we see increasing demands every year on the armed forces to assist local community partners in responding to natural disasters. These give us good training situations that can get troops where they need to be when deployed in a domestic situation. Sergeant Scott Morrison said.

The wooded area behind the old Wasaga Beach Arena was also an ideal location to simulate the environment of a real forest fire.

Saturday’s exercise was the last major exercise of the CAF’s annual training cycle.

The troops will be ready to respond to any domestic emergencies that might arise throughout the summer, especially after being deployed simultaneously across the country during last year’s historic fire season.