A group of representatives from key first responder agencies, organisations and departments have enhanced their skills in and boost their knowledge of preventing, dealing with and mitigating the effects of accidents involving hazardous substances in high risk chemical facilities.
The Chemical Safety and Security in the Central and Eastern African Region training forms part of the bigger Project 42 supported and funded under the Centre of Excellence of the European Union Commission all aimed at addressing different aspects of disaster risk management, awareness, preparedness and prevention associated with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear substances.
Key representatives of first responder agencies, organisations and departments namely the police, health, coast guard, Seychelles Fire & Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA) took part in the training conducted by a team of five experts from the EU Commission.
The training, held over four days at the Savoy Resort & Spa, Beau Vallon, comprised a theoretical component as well as a practical part during which all delegates also took part in or observed demonstrations of different safety gears and equipment which the trainers brought or those available here.
The team of trainers included a communication expert - an important aspect of safety and security, a medical specialist in risk management, protection from use of chemicals among others.
Geert Arno, a medical and chemical expert who led the training, said with their experience they have developed some good practices and techniques which they imparted to the delegates.
“Anywhere one may be, on a small island or in a large country, techniques and good practices are the same,” he said, while commending the great interest and eagerness to learn from those taking part in the training.
Those taking part welcomed the opportunity to enhance their capacity, obtain new knowledge, skills and techniques and availed of the forum to voice numerous challenges and the need for more help, support and training in areas they identified.
Joe Gabriel, a representative of the SFRSA, said the training has brought something new for each of the agencies taking part.
“It has enhanced our response and preparedness skills. All that each of us has received we will put it together to work as one big team to better prepare for emergencies and consequently the safety of our people and country,” Mr Gabriel said.
Welcoming the training, Paul Labaleine, the director general in the Department of Risk and Disaster Management (DRDM), said a key aspect of emergency management is training, more training and more and more knowledge of different hazards.
“The week-long training provided more knowledge of chemicals in their entirety and what each responder needs to do to enforce safety and prevent chemical accidents but more importantly what they need to do in a case of emergency. It is a short training as we still have a long way to go but it is a great help to enhance capacity of responders,” Mr Labaleine pointed out