Alberta, Canada, hosts CBRN training course

The Lakeland College’s Emergency Training Center in Alberta, Canada, recently hosted the school’s first ever regional chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives training course.

The regional educational program was part of a partnership between the government of Alberta and the Canadian Emergency Management College to offer training to first responders from Alberta and Saskatchewan. After two weeks of training, the students tested their skills during a staged scenario, the Vermillion Standard reports.

In the staged scenario, students taking a chemistry class were unknowingly enlisted in a professor’s plot to develop a nerve agent that he spilled, contaminating anything and everyone in the building.

"Today, we've put 25 live casualties on them and they won't know until they open the doors and see them running out of the building," Susan Hughes, who spent 24 years with the Canadian Military before working as an emergency instructor at CEM,C said, according to the Vermillion Standard. "Now they have to deal with casualties who are moaning, injured, blinded and it changes their focus because they need to use caution and be very safe. From what the first responders detect, what they see in signs and symptoms, they should be able to go back to command and say we're dealing with a nerve agent."

The students were observed during the drill using cameras set up throughout the building by instructors. Teams diagnosed the situation room by room. At the end of the scenario, bomb technicians had to diagnose and defuse a suitcase bomb.

"For me it's about the students because I believe the better prepared the first responder is, the better they take care of themselves, but they also take care of you and I," Hughes said, according to the Vermillion Standard. "They are there to protect the Canadian public, so the more prepared we can make them the happier I am."