Military exercise in Chatham to simulate chlorine gas leak

If you see soldiers in the area in Chatham-Kent over the next few days, don't panic. 

More than 600 soldiers from 31 Canadian Brigade Group will be in town

Members of the Immediate Response Unit (IRU) in Quebec load food supplies during Operation LENTUS 1703 at CFB Valcartier in Courcelette Québec, May 8, 2017. (Sgt Marc-André Gaudreault)

If you see soldiers in the area in Chatham-Kent over the next few days, don't panic. 

More than 600 reserve members of the Canadian army are taking part in 'Exercise Arrowhead Response' in southwestern Ontario.

According to Chief Warrant Officer Rob Talach, it's not the type of military exercise you might expect.

"They won't be armed. They'll be practicing how to support Canadians when there's an environmental or weather emergency," said Talach.

In Chatham-Kent, they're planning around a simulated chlorine gas leak.

"They'll be set up around Memorial Arena and doing things like what they'd need to do to assist the public if there was an emergency," said Talach. "They'll be out conducting patrols by foot and vehicle in the community."

The public is invited to interact with the soldiers — and Talach said the community will be part of the exercise.

"If residents of Chatham-Kent see soliders out and about, they're more than welcome to approach and engage and ask questions."

The exercise looks at things such as evacuation and where to house people after they leave their homes.

Talach said it's good for people to see the military in action.

"We may at times all get distracted with overseas operations, but the number one job is here at home," Talach said. "Reservists, which are citizen soldiers, their role is really to guard the home front here, regardless of what the threat is."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.