Soldiers and citizens prepare for the worst

About 25 soldiers were treated at Whitehorse General Hospital yesterday - for fake injuries, that is. "Pulse 80, 'resp' 12, blood pressure 80 on 100," said one paramedic to Dr. Marc Pronovost yesterday.

About 25 soldiers were treated at Whitehorse General Hospital yesterday – for fake injuries, that is.

“Pulse 80, ‘resp’ 12, blood pressure 80 on 100,” said one paramedic to Dr. Marc Pronovost yesterday. He was giving the stats of one of the soldiers acting as a bus-rollover victim, who had a fake gash on his forehead and arms, complete with skin-coloured silicone and red liquid oozing out of the wounds.

The doctors and medical staff did not have any idea what kind of injuries they would see when the soldiers were rolled in on stretchers or walked into the hospital. Out of 25 of the injuries, eight were serious, said Sgt. Sherry Rodgers, who’s stationed in Petawawa, Ont., and co-ordinated the mock injuries.

Nurses and doctors scrambled when seven soldiers arrived with imitation head concussions, broken arms and bleeding necks.

“The benefits are to put into action the plans that we usually have on paper,” said Pronovost. For the exercise, he was pretending to be the doctor overseeing and controlling all the hospital staff and EMS workers.

Because the territory sees a lot of bus and cruise ship tours, mining operations and forest fires, the training is necessary because a mass casualty is a real possibility, he said.

The simulated bus crash incident is one of the last military exercises associated with Operation Nanook in Whitehorse yesterday. So the men in green won’t be running around town for long.

Several soldiers will be in Whitehorse until next week as they take down the equipment and installations used for the training, said Col. John St. Denis, who headed the operation.

A total of around 1,000 soldiers with the Canadian navy, air force, and army were involved in the entire Operation Nanook this year. Whitehorse was one of four places chosen as training grounds. The other three are islands in Nunavut: Cornwallis Island, King William Island and Resolution Island.

At a briefing on Monday, St. Denis thanked government officials for allowing 550 soldiers to “play” in the city’s backyard.

From Tuesday to Thursday, they were able to train with about 200 Yukon government workers, 50 city workers, five paramedics, three doctors and several fire department and medical staff.

The three levels of government should now be prepared for a biohazard leak, a forest fire and a bus accident in Whitehorse – which were all simulated scenarios as part of the training.

The workers who participated in yesterday’s mass casualty event will be debriefing the Emergency Medical Service staff who were unable to attend, said Michael McKeage, the EMS director.

Residents were invited to meet the soldiers at a hockey game yesterday at 7 p.m. in the Canada Games Centre. Locals can still shake hands with them Saturday at a community barbecue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Shipyards Park, where military equipment will also be displayed.

Contact Krystle Alarcon at

krystlea@yukon-news.com

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