Rendered safe

An explosion during Exercise TAZ TORNADO 2018, a Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise designed to practice render safe procedures and Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Jimmy Lake Range, Saskatchewan on November 5, 2018. AB Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging

An explosion during Exercise TAZ TORNADO 2018, a Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise designed to practice render safe procedures and Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Jimmy Lake Range, Saskatchewan on November 5, 2018.
AB Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging

CHRISTOPHER KING

Members from 4 Wing Cold Lake caught an explosive glimpse into the world of ordnance disposal last week as Exercise Taz Tornado (Ex TT) wrapped up at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. On Nov. 7, 2018, just over 30 members, civilian and military, took part in a familiarization event to demonstrate how weapons technicians, clearance divers, and combat engineers can safely dispose of, or make safe, explosives.

Master Corporal (MCpl.)Jonathan Boisvert, Air Weapons Technicians at 1 Air Maintenance Squadron, was on the two-week-long exercise and said the base regularly gets called out to deal with unidentified explosive ordnance (UXO) so it’s critical for them to train in a controlled environment before responding to real-life calls.

“We get a bunch of calls out of the base to deal with ordnance so it’s good to deal with it during this exercise before we have to go out to a call for live ordnance,” MCpl. Boisvert said.

MCpl. Boisvert added that he often trains with training-aids, and this exercise gave him the opportunity to see the effects of the explosives he works with.

The exercise is originated in the mid-90s as Ex Missile Sapper, and was created when the Canadian Armed Forces had to dispose of expired munitions, namely the AIM-7 Sparrow, a radar-controlled homing missile.

It was decided that while disposing of munitions, the military can practice Render Safe Procedures (RSP) while disposing of the expired munitions.

The Officer In Charge (OIC) of the exercise who cannot be named due to operational security concerns, said the disposal of expired munitions is a normal procedure in the military and the missiles are replaced with newly procured missiles.

“It was originally started in Cold lake because we had time expired missiles in the Air Force, and instead of just getting rid of them we found a use them in practicing RSP,” the OIC said.

This year’s exercise saw a wide variety of occupations attend to hone their skills in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), including combat engineers, ammunition technicians, clearance divers, and air weapons systems technicians.

“People coming to the exercise are keeping up with their skills so when they do have to use them in Canada or overseas, they are familiar and have gained confidence in proven techniques from a controlled environment,” the OIC said.

That controlled environment is what MCpl. Boisvert said gives him the comfort to be able to deal with explosives in a calm manner.

“I work with them almost every day, it has become second nature,” he said. “You have to be safe and know what you’re dealing with.”

Learning about ordnance disposal is something that Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members deal with at home on a regular basis. Whether it’s Marine Location Markers (MLMs), war souvenirs from veterans that were forgotten, or simply a stash of ammunition that is abandoned in public, EOD qualified technicians are called to safely deal with the ordnance.

“People buy farms and may find ordnance that the previous owner had collected as a war souvenir,”
the OIC said. “There are different ways military ordnance gets into people’s hands and people don’t know what it is and we get called.”

For more information on UXO, visit canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/uxo/uxo-safety-tips.html

What to do if you find a UXO

1. Don’t touch it!
If disturbed, UXO can explode, causing death or injury. Do not touch it, move it, throw things at it or strike it with other objects.

2. Note the location and leave the area.
Remember where you saw the object. Go back the way that you came. If you see UXO from your vehicle, stay inside and back out. Prevent others from entering the area.

3. Call 911 or local police.
As soon as possible, call 911 or contact the local police. If you are working on the site, tell your manager what you found, where you found it and what you did.

This image has been altered due to OPSEC. Participants of Exercise TAZ TORNADO 2018, a Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise for Conventional Munitions Disposal practice render safe procedures through numerous scenarios at Jimmy Lake Range, Saskatchewan on November 5, 2018.  Photo:  AB Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging

This image has been altered due to OPSEC. Participants of Exercise TAZ TORNADO 2018, a Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise for Conventional Munitions Disposal practice render safe procedures through numerous scenarios at Jimmy Lake Range, Saskatchewan on November 5, 2018.
Photo: AB Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging
CK02-2018-0978-002

This image has been altered due to OPSEC. A participant of Exercise TAZ TORNADO 2018, a Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise for Conventional Munitions Disposal practices render safe procedures through numerous scenarios at Jimmy Lake Range, Saskatchewan on November 5, 2018.
Photo: AB Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging
CK02-2018-0978-008

A participant of Exercise TAZ TORNADO 2018, a Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise for Conventional Munitions Disposal practices render safe procedures through numerous scenarios at Jimmy Lake Range, Saskatchewan on November 5, 2018.
Photo: AB Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging
CK02-2018-0978-007