first_imgCanadian Forces Base Suffield in southern Alberta looked more like a scene out of The X-Files this week, as soldiers from across the world gathered for unique and essential training. Canada is preparing them on what to do in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident, and officials say it’s part of the country’s ongoing commitment to NATO. The training grounds are proudly flying the flags of the countries participating in the training including Italy, Demark, the United Kingdom and Germany. “Right now, we’re in a simulation during Exercise Precise Response; it’s a NATO exercise that we’ve been doing for 15 years. The government of Canada back in 2002 decided to host the training event for CBRN matters,” said Major Christian Lepage who works out of the Directorate for Joint CBRN Defence. In a station designed by the Germans, soldiers treat actors who come through their wash stations after hypothetically being exposed to sarin gas.The goal here is to treat and stabilize these “patients” as their performance is being observed. “What we do here in Canada for this event is scenarios. We’re using realistic props, industrial materials, biological agents to simulate the real thing can happen,” said Lepage. “The Canadian Forces offer a real training ground for partners so they can react to that kind of event.”Recent events around the world have given what happens here an added sense of urgency. After attacks in Syria and the United Kingdom, for example, it’s something not lost on those like German commanding officer Colonel Hans Holtherm. “I think the better we are prepared, even if nothing happens what we all hope, but you need to be prepared if you take it seriously,” he told reporters. Soldiers who make their way through these wash stations are scrubbed from head to toe, with the goal to clear them of any chemical agents. Holtherm says the men and women in his command enjoy coming to Suffield each year to brush up on their skills. “Honestly they really like to be here,” he said. “It’s kind of a retreat from the normal work in Germany. Germany is very crowded, and here you can see the people coming three weeks before they here. All the participants are eager to come back next year.”Officials here taking the event extremely seriously. Observers are warned several times not to walk across the orange pylon given the agents being used. Four hundred soldiers will be trained at the base in the coming weeks.Officials believe roughly 4,000 troops have made their way through this exercise since Canada committed to it back in 2002.last_img