First Responders Enhance Knowledge on Sampling and Analysis in Contaminated Environments

20 May 2019
Participant during a specialised training course in Częstochowa, Poland

First responders at a specialised training course in Częstochowa, Poland

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 20 May 2019 — An international group of first responders donned protective suits to enhance their skills in sampling and analysis of chemicals in highly contaminated environments during a specialised training course in Częstochowa, Poland, from 13 to 17 May.

The training provided theoretical and practical training on the sampling and analysis of highly dangerous substances such as chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals.

Commander of the Polish Central School of the State Fire Service, Jr. Brig. Piotr Placek, highlighted the longstanding cooperation between the OPCW and the Central School, which has resulted in the provision of specialised training to States Parties on an annual basis since 2013.

Senior Program Officer at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Mr Justo Quintero Mendez, underlined the uniqueness of the course, stressing its “relevance to the purpose of the CWC, in particular to the provisions of Article X on Assistance and Protection”.

The course – now in its seventh year – was held at the Polish Central School of the State Fire Service and run by the OPCW in collaboration with the Polish Army and the Firefighter Corps of the city of Katowice.

Twenty participants represented 18 States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uganda, and Ukraine.

Background

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

Ninety-seven percent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

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