Latin American and Caribbean First Responders Trained in Advanced Chemical Emergency Response Techniques

9 May 2016
The Fifth Regional Advanced Assistance-and-Protection Course on Chemical Emergency Response for States Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC), which was held from 25 to 29 April in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Fifth Regional Advanced Assistance-and-Protection Course on Chemical Emergency Response for States Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC), which was held from 25 to 29 April in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Twenty-five first responders participated in the Fifth Regional Advanced Assistance-and-Protection Course on Chemical Emergency Response for States Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC), held from 25 to 29 April in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Calling attention to the value of the training and overall effort to build capacity in the region in response to chemical incidents, His Excellency, Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen, Subsecretary of Foreign Relations for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship for Argentina in the opening speech stated, “We should seriously consider the possibility of the deliberate use of chemicals of general use by industry for malicious purposes, but also during accidents in chemical plants and transport of chemicals.”

The training is a joint effort among the Argentine National Authority to the CWC, the Ministry of Security for Argentina through the Federal Firefighters Superintendence, and the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW. Participants put in practice the use of individual protective equipment as well as containment, rescue and decontamination techniques. Different scenarios of increasing complexity were also used for participants to practice an incident command system approach for the management of chemical emergencies.

OPCW-trained instructors from Brazil and Poland contributed their expertise, which was made possible through the Instructor Development and Exchange Programme run by the OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch.  

The participants came from 17 States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela).

The course built on the skills and knowledge the participants had gained during the basic course held in Peru earlier this year. During the next phase of this capacity-building cycle, participants will participate in an exercise hosted by Brazil in October 2016.

This training marks five years of successful cooperation between the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat and Argentina’s National Authority regarding chemical emergency response in the GRULAC region. These activities stem from the Article X provision of the CWC, which helps countries that adhere to the CWC protect themselves from chemical weapons.
 

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