Canadians validate decontamination system during Ex TOXIC TRIP

A Canadian pilot being decontaminated by Turkish troops. This was the first collaboration between Canadian and Turkish personnel.

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Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defence specialists recently completed an important step in validating their new decontamination system during the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Exercise TOXIC TRIP 2016.

Scheduled to be put into service in March 2017, the system is the most compact and effective in the world, and simultaneously decontaminates personnel, vehicles, and equipment, while using an eco-friendly decontaminant and recovering the contaminated water.

“Exercise TOXIC TRIP 2016 enabled us to perfect our system and the operating procedures,” said Captain Christian Doucet, the system’s project director. “A week after we arrived, we were able to validate our decontamination system. It’s the best in the world.”

The mission for the Canadian team this year was to improve the techniques, tactics and procedures for decontaminating non-ambulatory personnel in order to enhance the system’s interoperability and reduce the number of medical operators. They got results: the decontamination line for non-ambulatory personnel will require 58 fewer operators than expected. And next year, the team’s mission will be accomplished when Canada introduces a compact, functional system that is fully compatible with those of the other NATO countries.

For the first time in the history of the exercise, CAF members also worked with members of the Turkish military to decontaminate a patient. They taught the Turks how to carry out certain medical protocols. This collaboration improved both decontamination protocols and command-and-control coordination between countries.

The purpose of this annual NATO exercise is to improve interoperability in CBRN defence during air defence operations. Exercise scenarios were based on real-life situations, such as transporting a patient with Ebola virus, biocontainment and decontamination, were used to build participants’ knowledge and skills in chemical and radiological defence.

For the second year in a row, the CAF used Radiation Portal Monitoring Systems, a portable solution for detecting radiation-emitting contaminants on personnel. That capability is especially useful when treating large numbers of victims.

The multinational CBRN exercise took place earlier this fall in Antalya, Turkey, and involved 385 participants from 11 NATO countries (Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Turkey and Slovenia), four NATO partner nations (Austria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Sweden and New Zealand), and one NATO organization (the Joint CBRN Defence Centre of Excellence). The Canadian team was made up of 13 specialists from the Directorate of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence, 427 Squadron, 1 Canadian Air Division, 23 CF Health Services Centre, 2 Wing-Air Expeditionary Wing Bagotville, and 5 Field Ambulance.

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