Residents in Gibbons may notice an increased military presence for the next week.

The Canadian Armed Forces are conducting a series of defense exercises and maintenance training throughout the town between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5.

Residents can expect to see soldiers in gas masks and hazmat suits around the trails south of Echo Glen Park. The military won't be conducting exercises inside the town, but instead in a development area southwest of Gibbons.

Captain Ryan Bartlette, Public Affairs Officer with the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, says that some exercises are to simulate a possible Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear (CBRN) attack. 

"Now not everyone has worn a gas mask, but everyone has just been through a pandemic. Can you imagine doing tough work with a mask on?" Bartlette said. "Well gas masks seal your whole face then you suck the air in through a small hole in the filter. It makes everything tougher, but it keeps you safe." 

For this training, they're just using water from a fire truck supplied by CFB Edmonton.

These exercises have no risk to the public.

Residents can also expect to hear blanks being fired on Oct. 5. This will be for their Troops In Combat (TIC) exercise, a defense scenario with other soldiers acting as an enemy. These blanks will be extremely controlled and only fired during daylight hours.

This is the first time the military has visited Gibbons since 2019.