We are Safety Services

By Gail Rodgers

Posted on Thursday, September 7, 2017

It was the fourth annual 33 Brigade Military Skills Competition that’s held every fall and this time around it was conducted in Burwash. The competition unfolded under adverse weather conditions, challenging all teams demonstrating their soldiering skills. The competition was meant to develop the spirit of the fighting soldier, while testing personal determination and doggedness. It is ultimately a team building exercise that relies heavily on individual and collective training undertaken by the soldiers during their time in the Reserves.

The teams had arrived in Burwash on a Friday night between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. The competition had begun at 5 a.m. Saturday morning and ran until approximately 8 a.m. Sunday morning. During this twenty-six hour period team members get minimal sleep while being challenged with various soldiering tasks, all of which must be completed in a safe and professional manner.

Early Saturday morning, two team representatives from their respective units arrived from Ottawa. They were directed by Camp Burwash staff to the bivouac lines that had already been set up. Upon arrival the team representatives found a milk crate with two containers of naptha inside their bivouac lines. The crate was sitting approximately one foot away from a Coleman (torpedo type) heater. As you can see in the photo, the container of naptha had already started to melt!

Fortunately for all concerned, the hazard was found, dealt with, and reported immediately to the RQMS camp staff, preventing a near miss from becoming something more tragic. The camp duty staff later informed the General Safety Officer of this incident, who in turn instructed the Camp Sergeant Major to have all tent lines inspected to ensure all was safe.

Unfortunately due to the pace of the competition and the number of injuries the GSO had to deal with, there wasn’t sufficient time to initiate an investigation.

In the aftermath of the competition it was emphasized to all Brigade GSO’s and Op staff via email, the necessity to stress field safety and the importance of safety talks for all. The incident was raised again just prior to summer training to reinforce safety awareness and the underlying importance of conducting safety briefs.

Any comments or questions can be forwarded to +Safety Svcs GSO@4 CDSG Safety Svcs@Petawawa