CHEMEX Africa 2023

CHEMEX Africa is a two-week, intensive training programme for first responders from across Africa. It prepares them to manage and respond to complex chemical emergencies in their own communities. Course instructors were trained through the OPCW Africa Programme, and the aim is to train the next generation of African first responders.

CHEMEX Africa combines a broad range of theoretical knowledge with practical, on-the-ground experience. It is designed to expand national capacities in assistance and protection, one of the key provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

First responder training

Course content 

  • Basic toxic industrial chemicals and chemical weapons agents (characteristics, symptoms, effects, how they disperse in the environment, hazard routes) 

  • Personal protection for first responders entering a “hot zone” (personal protective equipment) 

  • Decontamination procedures

  • Detection and sampling (principles, techniques and equipment for detection, identification and sample collection in different scenarios, handling samples) 

  • Incident command (structure, roles, scene layout, “hot zone” management, radio communication protocols)

Live demonstration 

Participants demonstrate their new skills in a chemical emergency response simulation at the end of the training. Member States and other key stakeholders attend the demonstration to witness how a chemical emergency can unfold.  

An OPCW expert provides live commentary of the simulated incident and explains how the first responders mitigate and respond to the threat. The demonstration offers Member States an unrivalled opportunity to understand the threats, risks and impact of such an incident, and discuss with experts from the Technical Secretariat opportunities on how to mitigate them. 

First responder training