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Royal Canadian Navy visits Collingwood for unique training operation

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The Royal Canadian Navy is in Collingwood this weekend for a unique training operation.

Members of the Hamilton-based His Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Star are practicing simulated rescue situations alongside Collingwood firefighters and OPP to enhance their abilities to respond to emergencies.

"If we don't train, we can't be prepared for real-life situations, so that's what we're doing here," said Lieutenant Commander Michael Di Berardo of the HMCS Star. "Sorting out the communication, making sure our boats are in working order, making sure our personnel are engaged and ready to fight and support."

Around 100 first responders from the reserves, Collingwood firefighters, and Collingwood OPP officers participated.

They practiced marine rescue operations such as responding to a person overboard, tending to a severely wounded victim, and transferring a victim from a marine transport to a ground transport.

The Royal Canadian Navy could be called to respond to situations such as floods or ice storms.

"[If] you can't access a house or property via land," explained Di Berardo, "we have to send a boat out to rescue people."

Collingwood's Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Emo values collaborating with other first responders.

"Anytime we can do training with another agency, especially the Royal Canadian Navy, I think it's very important for our first responders to participate," Emo said.

The reserves will continue their weekend of training at Millennium Park on Sunday and will hold their next training session in two weeks in Windsor. 

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