Ecuador hosts chemical emergency simulation training for first responders

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Simulating an emergency provides first responders with a valuable opportunity to learn emergency management roles and responsibilities in a non-threatening environment. From June 6 to 10, first responders from the Latin America and Caribbean region participated in training that included a chemical emergency simulation designed to develop their skills in handling complex chemical emergencies.

The training took place in Quito, Ecuador, and was co-organized by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Ministry of National Defense of Ecuador, with the support of the Fire Corps of the city of Quito. It built on skills learned by participants from previous OPCW regional emergency response trainings.

Participants receive instructions before entering the simulated hot zone.

Participants took on different roles and responsibilities during the simulation, from commander to security guard to members of the rescue team.

The course was delivered by an international team of instructors from Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Spain as part of the Instructor Development and Exchange Program run by the Assistance and protection from the OPCW’s International Cooperation and Assistance Division.

Rafael Poveda, Deputy Minister of National Defense, said in his opening speech: “The National Ministry of Defense and the Technical Secretariat have coordinated this training to unify operational protocols and procedures in the region in the face of any chemical threat. in Latin America while working for and promoting the peaceful use of chemical agents.

Ecuador hosts chemical emergency simulation training for first responders

The simulated training involved a chemical terrorist attack.

An Ecuadorian special operations group simulates a response.

The Senior Program Officer of the OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch, Mr. Miguel Albaladejo Pomares, underlined: “This type of exercise is very important, not only for the development of intervention capacities emergency involving chemical warfare agents, but also to increase and strengthen the network of experts in the region.

During the training, participants took part in a simulated attack with chemical warfare agents. Participants learned to coordinate and manage emergencies and integrate into emergency response groups. They also practiced implementing the Incident Command System methodology, which uses a standardized approach to controlling and coordinating an emergency response.

Ecuador hosts chemical emergency simulation training for first responders

Participants in the coordination phase of the tabletop exercise.

The simulation took place at General Marcos Subia’s military fort in conjunction with Ecuadorian chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) operational response groups.

Authorities from the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Production as well as industry representatives from small and medium chemical facilities in the Pichincha region were present as observers.

38 nationals and international participants from 15 OPCW Member States of the Latin America and Caribbean (GRULAC) region took part in the exercise: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua , Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).

Ecuador hosts chemical emergency simulation training for first responders

Opening ceremony of the tabletop exercise.

Quito, Ecuador

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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