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It’s only a drill: Penticton to host emergency-response exercises

Expect to see low-flying helicopters among other emergency vehicles
If you see low-flying helicopters on Sept. 19 to 21, don’t panic, they’re participating in emergency response training. (Western News File)

If you see helicopters in the sky and major emergency responses, it’s likely only a drill as Penticton plays host to a three-day training exercise.

The Vancouver-based Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team (HUSAR) will be leading the exercise from Sept. 19 to 21.

The drills will include uniformed emergency personnel, including members of the Penticton Fire Department, emergency vehicles and helicopter operations over the three days of training.

“We’re excited to be coming to Penticton for training and the opportunity to hone our skills in a variety of emergency situations,” says captain Eric Grootendorst, who is with Canada Task Force 1 and Vancouver Fire and Rescue. “Penticton provides a variety of terrain that allow us to simulate different types of rescue operations and that’s vital to keep our members trained for when an emergency does strike.”

Emergency personnel will be practicing their response to dealing with large-scale disasters, with a simulated landslide, building collapse, parkade collapse and a water evacuation.

A total of 110 HUSAR personnel will be taking part with 87 members of Task Force 1 from Vancouver, as well as members from Manitoba TF4, and the Canadian Armed Forces.

The exercise will simulate a provincial response to an extreme weather event where multiple technical rescues are required. The scenarios will be set up in and around Penticton.

In addition to land resources, air operations will be taking place on Sept. 19 and 20. A helicopter will be conducting low-level flight operations around Penticton, but primarily around the convention center.

The base of operations for the exercise will be the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

The public is welcome to observe and ask questions of members according to the City of Penticton. Danger areas will be marked and taped off.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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