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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

Most Read