Cadets learn winter survival skills

The “operation cold weather” East Kootenay army field training exercise took place at the Radium Rod and Gun Club from February 23 to 25.

The 2756 Invermere Army Corp hosted the first combination army cadet corp winter training exercise, with all five army corps participating from the East Kootenay Region.

More than 50 cadets and staff from 2757 Fernie, 1813 Cranbrook, 1746 Creston, 3066 Golden, and 2756 Invermere Army Corps attended this winter survival weekend. With snow covered ground, day time highs of -15 C and night time lows reaching -18 C, cadets were really able to feel how difficult it could be to survive in winter conditions out in the field.

Survival skills are techniques that one may use in order to sustain life in any type of environment. All sea, army and air cadets are taught the basic skills for survival throughout their training levels, including how to avoid ending up in an emergency survival situation. With the knowledge they gain during these training exercises, their chances of survival and being rescued will increase dramatically. It is easy to read and study about how to survive, but it is something else to put this knowledge into practice.

Junior cadets learned how to build fires for survival and cooking, what to look for in site selection for a shelter and some of the hazards of winter camping to watch for, including avalanches. While snow shoeing, they were taught how to find the safer path to trek along, hoping not to step into a hollow spot.

The seniors were learning about what items are best to have in their personal survival kits, and how to build shelters with the materials found around them. As a team, they constructed a signal fire and were working on how to light it. They learned that it wouldn’t light as easily as they first thought it would.

“This training is valuable to all cadets and staff, as leadership and communication; combined with the weekend training they learned skills that will last a lifetime. Our cadets will be better prepared for the unforeseen situations, when they are participating in outdoor and back country activities,” says Cpt. McConnell from the 2756 Invermere Corp.

The Cadet Program aims to develop in youth ages 12 to 18 the attributes of good citizenship and leadership, promote physical fitness and stimulate the interest of youth in sea, land and air activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.

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