If anyone thinks the members of 15 Wing are resting on their laurels, they need to think again.
Training is an ongoing, intricate part of a career with the Canadian Forces. Military staff have to take into account the logistics and preparation for dozens of different emergency scenarios.
No one ever wants an emergency to occur, but they want to be as prepared as possible if and when it does.
On Thursday, the crew at 15 Wing staged a mock emergency response exercise simulating an eyewitness report of an aircraft crashing at the base.
The Moose Jaw Fire Department and Moose Jaw & District EMS took part in the exercise to add as much depth as possible to the training exercise for forces members at the base, and for Moose Jaw’s emergency first responders' own preparedness.
The Times-Herald was also invited to take part in the exercise, adding authenticity to the emergency scenario. A reporter was sent to show up at the scene of the simulated accident and interact with 15 Wing staff, aiming to treat the situation as reality. This offered military police, public affairs staff and emergency members a chance to gain extra insight for the overall scenario.
Capt. Glen Herridge was one of the officers involved in preparing the scenario and said it’s an ongoing part of operations to continue advancing and preparing staff and emergency services.
“It's one of those things you practice that you don't want to use," he said. "The other side of that is we need to be ready at any second, even if we have an incident, another incident could happen the very next day. We have to be at a heightened readiness all the time.”
Once the information is gathered from the scenario, Herridge said, staff members are first briefed in what is referred to as a “hot wash,” containing initial information. A more thorough report is then prepared as more details come to light from the exercise.
“Everyone who participated today will get a copy of that report," Herridge said, adding that it will incorporate both areas that were handled well and others that need improvement. "We’ll put those into action as soon as this report is done."
Capt. Susan Magill, public affairs officer for 15 Wing, said the field exercises, which happen at least twice a year, are beneficial in letting the community know that precautions and training are continuous.
“We want to make sure not only we’re ready and prepared the best way possible," she said, "but with the exercise we want through the Times-Herald (to) let the general public know we do practice this. We don’t just sit on our laurels and wait for something to happen.”
Magill added that the depth and quality of training needed for an air force base is enormous due to the number of different variables and scenarios.
For more on this story pick up the next issue of the Times-Herald.