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Military Operation Laser underway at Canadian Forces Base Borden
BARRIE -- Military personnel with Canadian Forces Base Borden have been busy over the past week setting up a camp for what's being called 'Operation Laser," a site that can accommodate hundreds of people in an emergency.
One hundred personnel from the Canadian Forces Joint Support Group are taking part in the exercise. Staff have relocated a temporary camp from CFB Kingston to CFB Borden to exercise their ability to rapidly assemble a makeshift camp with the capability of temporarily housing 250 people in a pandemic setting.
Lieutenant Colonel Dan McKinney says building a camp like this in the military is a familiar routine for the Canadian Armed Forces. Still, this time it's different because of the pandemic.
"It's new for everybody, even the military, and we take readiness really seriously, and the environment needs to be accounted for."
The camp has everything it needs to be self- contained, including a field kitchen, electricity and internet
"To make sure we have the tools, we need the right personnel," says McKinney. "Most importantly, the right procedures that are unique in this pandemic environment."
To be clear, this is not a field hospital. Still, the accommodations could be used in any number of scenarios from a community evacuation in a forest fire to temporarily housing a large group of Canadians returning to the country.
The Canadian Military has already been called on to assist domestically during the pandemic in long term care homes in Ontario and Quebec. A camp like this could be deployed anywhere it might be needed in Canada or around the world.