OPCW and Belarus host first chemical contamination course for Russian speakers

The Government of Belarus and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons jointly organized the first chemical contamination international training course for Russian-speaking first responders from September 2 to 6.

The Ministry for Emergencies also made the training course possible. Nineteen first responders from 13 States Parties were present, including first responders from Armenia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Belarus, Latvia, Romania, Russian Federation, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Ukraine, Vietnam and Tajikistan.

The courses were taught at the Institute for Command Engineers in Minsk and at the Institute for Retraining and Professional Development in Svetlaya Roshcha. All participants engaged in indoor and outdoor training on how to respond to a chemical incident; participants were taught the roles of first responders, fire fighters, hazardous material specialists and rescue services in the event of a chemical incident.

The course taught participants basic information about personal protective equipment to protect against toxic chemicals; participants also learned detection, decontamination and monitoring methods. Participants were also educated on toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents.

The program's curriculum ended with information and history of the implementation of Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Russian-speaking first responders who took the course are now expected to be better prepared in the event of a chemical incident.