All Hazards Response 201317 June 2013 0
Black is the colour of my true love’s respirator
CBRNe World’s All Hazard Response, April 16-17, CityWest Hotel, Dublin
All Hazard Response was our most ambitious event for the past seven years, combining twenty two presentations with a number of multi-agency exercises. Not only was this ambitious in terms of logistics, bringing together the exercise participants, Paris Fire Brigade, South West Ambulance Service Trust (UK) and the Irish Defence Forces, but also in terms of the weather. Ireland in April can be unforgiving to outdoors activity, and rain in Ireland comes in two forms – vertical and horizontal! As it was the weather, and contingency plans worked – and all three vignettes went off without a hitch!
CBRNe World always tries to lead opinion, and it was this in mind that we had christened the event ‘All Hazards’ rather than a CBRNE Europe or a targeted sector, such as decon or detection. There is no doubt that these are trying financial times, and as such there needs to be a re-balancing of the force, those who try and remain purists might find themselves obliged to take a ‘capability holiday.’ It was with this concept of trying to show how skills developed for specific anti-terrorist/state applications could be used in other circumstances that the show was developed and built. As such there were lectures on two ways of developing a hazmat EMS capability, from both Florida and the UK, and the different ways that it could be used. Another great presentation was from Colonel Shinzi Iwakuma, the Deputy Commander of the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force, who was able to give a first hand account of the work that he had done on the Fukushima Daiichi facility. Equally the Environment Protection Agency spoke about their mobile lab and Aspect aircraft (which will also be showcased in San Diego – your chance to come along and kick the tyres of this unique capability!), which could be used in a variety of disasters or terrorist attacks. There was a magnificent presentation from Nick Vent talking about the Escondido bomb factory, a criminal facility that showcased why you needed teams able to balance CBRN, EOD, environmental health and tactical officers. His 90 minute lecture went into detail about the suspect, his house, what worked (and what didn’t) and how they managed to do a burn in place to successfully eradicate a wide variety of material (see CBRNe World Autumn 2012 for more information).
If anything could top these first class presentations it would be the three exercises that spanned the two days. Until weeks before the event the 773rd CST was due to be taking part as well, but due to sequester all exercises, unless they were in support of Afghanistan, had been cancelled, so with regret they had to cancel. This left some elements of the exercise as purely paper based, but the story arc was unaffected: mass protests and demonstrations have become common place with a number of countries suffering from increasingly orchestrated actions by extremist radically elements within the Economic Militant Coalition (EMC2) alliance. Attacks were instigated against the MEPs [Members of the European Parliament] and came in the form of letters containing white powder substances which were identified as anthrax but resulted in no fatalities, attacks also occurred against the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the ECB [European Central Bank] and involved the release of a Hydrogen Cyanide aerosol into the air conditioning systems of the buildings. Following an intelligence lead operation a suspect vehicle was stopped by the Irish Police on the outskirts of Dublin, and a suspect device found in the vehicle. EOD assistance was requested and upon arrival an improvised dispersal device was identified, after which national CBRNe Response was then launched. Having completed their RSP the CBRNe IEDD team handed samples to the 773rd CST for analysis. As the event became public there was massive media interest focused on the Citywest conference. At H+4 a secondary device exploded in the media car park of the hotel killing and wounding a large number of high profile people and casualty extraction/management was co-ordinated by SWAST HART, preliminary detection suggests one of the devices was bio. H+24 Sapeur Pompier de Paris arrived to assist with a letter sent to the French Embassy in Dublin that leaked powder.
225 delegates were there to see the exercises and presentations, from 24 countries (including Jordan, Oman, Russia, India, Japan, Turkey, Georgia, Bulgaria) with 30 exhibitors from around the world. We are grateful to the support that we received from our sponsors, Biofire, Cristanini, Bruker and RSDL. Hopefully San Diego in October will be disaster free, since prior to Convergence 2011 in Istanbul there was an earthquake, Convergence 2012 in Norfolk had a hurricane and All Hazard Response coincided with the Boston bombing and the ricin letters!