The community of Rankin Inlet and supporting territorial personnel were given passing grades for how they handled a mock emergency scenario put on by Operation Nanook earlier this month.
The operation officially ran from Aug. 14-25.
Taking part in the exercise were members of the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force and Joint Task Force Support Component, various government departments and members of the 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group from Arviat, Chesterfield Inlet, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove.
Canadian Army Simulation Centre team leader Dave Banks said his team was tasked to support the development of the public emergency scenario for the operation.
He said he and his team were in Rankin in February to develop the exercise, and they returned this past week to manage its delivery, ensure the scenario played out successfully and those involved received full training value from the exercise.
The mock emergency scenario included an explosion, fire, injuries, casualties, property damage and even a toxic smoke plume.
Banks said the team provided a solid exercise, based on feedback he received from those involved. He also said he was impressed and humbled by the people he met in Rankin.
“I wish more people in southern Canada had a bit more of an understanding of what life is like up here,” said Banks.
He said Northerners are 100 per cent more efficient than folks he has worked with in the south, because they have no other choice. He said there are no big towns or cities nearby in the North, so communities have to fend for themselves.
“The communities already have that mentality, which is a great thing in dealing with any emergency, and that’s one thing that really impresses me here,” he said.
“The people also know, if an emergency happens during non-flying weather, they could really be on their own. I’ve been involved with numerous emergency exercises in other parts of Canada, and I was involved with the Red River flood and other disasters while in the military, and I am very, very impressed by the self-efficiency and the ability of folks up here to survive.”
The hamlet should be be safer and better prepared for an emergency following the exercise, according to Banks.
“This exercise has given the town a chance to think about the kind of help it might need in an emergency,” he said “and to talk to the territory and the mining company about supplying that help, because every community, at some time, will reach the limits of its resources and need help.”