Regional trainings build capacity of first responders to respond to chemical emergencies in Asia

Chemical emergencies can arise from various situations such as a leak, fire or chemical attack. To help ensure that first responders have the skills to respond to a chemical emergency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) co-hosted regional trainings in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 13 to June 17, 2022, and in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from June 19 to 23.

The trainings were conducted in collaboration with the Republic of Korea CBRN Defense Command and the Bangladesh National Authority (BNACWC) respectively. Each week-long basic training included basic theoretical information as well as practical exercises.

Participants receive instructions before entering the chamber with simulated chemical agents.

Participants learned about the Chemical Weapons Convention, emergency management principles, personal protective equipment, surveillance, detection, decontamination operations and first aid during a chemical emergency. They also practiced putting on and taking off personal protective equipment, using detection devices and carrying out decontamination procedures following exposure to a chemical agent.

In Seoul, Brigadier General Dae Wee, Commander of the CBRN Defense Command, stressed the importance of Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (assistance and protection against chemical weapons). He added, “It is in the interest of the Republic of Korea to contribute to the international capacity building programs of the OPCW by organizing such training courses and sharing our experience in chemical defence.

The mobile victim assistance station is assembled during a simulated chemical attack.

The mobile victim assistance station is assembled during a simulated chemical attack.

Addressing the course participants in Dhaka, Dr. Md. Enamur Rahman, Minister of State, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said, “I am confident that this company will make the fire and rescue service civil defence, as well as other related organizations, more effective in countering any chemical incident or accident. The engagement of the OPCW and BNACWC is important in ensuring chemical safety and security for the benefit of a peaceful world.

During the online closing ceremony in Dhaka, Ms. Odette Melono, Deputy Director General of the OPCW, underlined: “The value of training opportunities of this nature at regional and international levels cannot be underestimated. It expands the pool of experts in national protection programs, while building capacity and responsiveness at national, regional and international levels to minimize the potential impacts of chemical incidents”.

Regional trainings build capacity of first responders to respond to chemical emergencies in Asia

The participant practices vehicle decontamination.

The training in Seoul, Republic of Korea brought together 18 participants from 13 OPCW Member States: Cambodia, Fiji, India, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Qatar, Sri Lanka, State of Palestine and United States. United Arab Emirates.

The training in Dhaka, Bangladesh brought together 37 trainees from six member states that are also members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Participants observe the decontamination of PPE footwear.

Participants observe the decontamination of PPE footwear.

Background

As the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 member states, oversees the global effort to eliminate chemical weapons forever. Since the Convention entered into force in 1997, it has been the most successful disarmament treaty, eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

Over 99% of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its tremendous efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

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