Experts from GRULAC enhance pre-hospital care preparedness to respond to chemical incidents

First responders from Latin America and the Caribbean meet in Mexico City to strengthen their response capabilities under Article X of the Convention

2 March 2023
Experts from GRULAC enhance pre-hospital care preparedness to respond to chemical incidents

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—2 March 2023—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the National Authority of Mexico for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons held a pre-hospital care course for Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) first responders in Mexico City, Mexico from 7 to 10 February.

The course was designed to improve the initial pre-hospital responses given by regional experts in the case of a chemical incident or emergency. The course was organised with the support of the Reference Institute of Diagnosis and Epidemiological (InDRE) of Mexico. It covered topics, such as the use of individual protective equipment, decontamination of victims, first aid in the case of an incident with toxic industrial chemicals, provision of antidotes to patients affected by chemical weapons, and pre-hospital care in the incident command system. Theoretical lessons and practice sessions were combined to reach a final exercise at the end of the training, when participants had the opportunity to reinforce the knowledge and skills gathered.

The course was opened by the Subsecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion of Mexico, Dr. Hugo López Gatell, who stated: “Mexico wishes to share its experience in responding to chemical emergencies with countries in the region to enhance their capabilities to deal with incidents involving chemical warfare agents or toxic chemicals independent of their nature and, work together for a common goal under the mandate of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Technical Secretariat representative thanked the Government of Mexico for hosting and co-organising the event.

The course was delivered by local instructors from different institutions and was attended by 27 international and national participants from 12 OPCW Member States in the GRULAC region: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. Additionally, local observers from the Mexican Health Secretary were present during the course.

Experts from GRULAC enhance pre-hospital care preparedness to respond to chemical incidents


This course was conducted under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention, under which Member States “have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, material and scientific and technological information concerning means of protection against chemical weapons.”

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 99% 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.

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