Fourty Paraguayan first responders acquired new skills in emergency preparedness and response during a training facilitated by the Assistance and Protection Branch of the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
In his opening remarks on behalf of the participants, fire-fighter Commander Captain Christian Monges said, “We appreciate the opportunity to build up our skills during this training, and warmly welcome the contribution of international institutions to boost our national response capacity to chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals”.
The participants represented the police, army, firefighting and emergency medical services. They participated in practical exercises in a variety of emergency response procedures. As many of those attending the course had already had some first responder experience from chemical incidents in Paraguay, they used the meeting as an opportunity to exchange lessons learned to improve their performance and increase coordination among national institutions in case of future incidents.
The training was a joint effort of Czech, Paraguayan and OPCW experts organised by the Instructor Development and Exchange Programme run by the OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch. It helped the first responders who were part of a national training provided by the OPCW to Paraguay a few years ago to refresh their skills and knowledge.
This effort to build capacity supports wider OPCW’s initiatives to strengthen emergency response capabilities and expand the network of first responders in the Latin American and Caribbean region.