THE HAGUE, Netherlands–17 December 2021–Emergency response trainers strengthened teaching skills during an online course for instructors held from 14 – 16 December. The course was conducted by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in collaboration with the Population Protection Institute of the Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic.
During opening remarks, Lt Col Ladislava Navrátilová, course leader from the Population Protection Institute, stated: “The main goal is to train instructors in the right procedures for managing chemical incidents. Our Institute is committed to working with the OPCW to strengthen chemical safety and emergency preparedness in all regions”
The Programme Officer from OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch coordinating the course underlined: “This course furthers the sustainability of OPCW capacity building efforts aimed at strengthening regional response capabilities against chemical attacks and incidents involving toxic industrial chemicals. By expanding the number of training instructors and providing a platform for dialogue and mutual learning, our Member States will be better prepared to respond if needed.”
The course was aimed at fire and rescue instructors, first responders, and military chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) specialists, who routinely share expertise with less experienced colleagues. Participants enhanced their knowledge of chemical warfare agents, theoretical aspects of detection, identification, individual protection, as well as decontamination and treatment techniques used during chemical incidents. They also improved their instruction skills by providing lectures on the types and effects of chemical weapons, as well as on protection, sampling, and decontamination methods. Additionally, the course covered teaching strategies for instructors.
The course was attended by 31 participants representing the following 25 OPCW Member States: Algeria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Latvia, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Timor-Leste, United Republic of Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe.
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.
Over 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.