By: Lucy Ellis

When it comes to responding to a natural disaster, time is of the essence. That’s why the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) maintains a constant state of high readiness and conducts exercises to confirm its capacity to deploy on short notice.

Approximately 200 CAF members took part in Exercise READY RENAISSANCE in Southern Ontario from 29 February to 10 March 2016. They were joined by partners from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and military observers from China and Mexico.  

The exercise centred on the scenario of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the fictional country of Limeria.

After a disaster that large, speed is paramount,” said Commander (Cdr) Mike Lewis, Commanding Officer of the DART. “Our most recent deployment of the DART was after the devastation in Nepal, and that too was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The quicker the DART can arrive on the scene, the quicker we can alleviate the human suffering.

Exercise READY RENAISSANCE focused on the mounting and deployment of the DART. While the scenario was specific to an earthquake, the skills practiced are transferable to a variety of real-world situations.

After a disaster, a small multi-departmental reconnaissance team will deploy to an affected nation to coordinate with the embassy and get an idea of the situation on the ground. Then, usually within one to three days of the disaster, the Humanitarian Assistance Reconnaissance Team (HART) will arrive in the affected area…

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