The second PROACTIVE field exercise took place on 16th November 2022, hosted by the NBC School training centre in Rieti, Italy, in conjunction with eNOTICE project. The aim for PROACTIVE was to test the tools we are developing, our Pre-Incident Information Materials and our Crisis Communication System, all while incorporating the direct participation of members of civil society, including representatives of vulnerable groups, as role play causalities in the exercise.
The joint action was a multi-agency exercise with representation from Trenitalia, Carabinieri, firefighters, military doctors, and an army CBRN unit. The scenario was a suspected chemical incident affecting nearby civilians. The exercise started at an urban train station, with passengers already on a train awaiting departure and others still on the platform. Then, a large boom was heard and intense, dense smoke, which was simulated with artificial fog, was seen. Passengers were evacuated, held in the warm zone, and underwent decontamination.
At the end of exercise, citizen volunteers demonstrated a great attitude in terms of their will to learn more about CBRNe. They also showed a willingness to collaborate and support the work of specialised responders to minimise the impact of a disaster.
The first responders felt that including the public at large in CBRNe training exercises was an “amazing” – their words – opportunity.
Below is a series of photos showing the day’s events:
The exercise day started with the registration process and participants received wristbands.
A member of the PROACTIVE team in orange tabard is helping a visually impaired participant to fill in the registration form.
After registration, volunteers had a Pre-Exercise Briefing, thanks to help provided by Save the Children Italy, a PROACTIVE CSAB member.
At the same time that the volunteers underwent a briefing, so did the invited Observers.
The exercise play began with all casualty volunteers sitting on the train inside the station when an explosion was simulated by a loud noise and disco fog (dry ice), and all lights went off.
The military staff who were on site arrive at the impacted train to help evacuate passengers.
The train staff and military staff on site put on masks, which are available to them based on their SOPs, and both assisted passengers with evacuating them from the hot zone.
For the firefighters, the exercise play began with a call to the scene.
The first fire fighters and equipment arrived on scene. Then, the firefighters began putting up cordons.
At the same time, the train staff had placed an emergency call to the Carabinieri (local law enforcement agency), who dispatched a local patrol to assist.
Then CBRN specialised firefighters arrived to the incident area and suited up in hazmat suits in order to evacuate non-ambulant people from the hot zone.
CBRN specialised staff in hazmat suits conducted a search of the affected station and train.
The Carabinieri evacuated the passengers to a safe space in the warm zone where they could await the arrival of specialised responders to set up decontamination.
The volunteer causalities took shelter under a tent from the rain as they waited for approximately 40 minutes for the decontamination tent to be set up. This was intended to add realism to the exercise.
While the ambulatory passengers waited in the warm zone, the decontamination tent was set up by the military responders who had arrived on scene.
Here, the specialised responders are evacuating the non-ambulatory casualty.
The volunteers went through a check before decontamination.
The process continues in this photo.
The process continues in this photo.
Once all the passengers and victims have been removed from the hotzone, the CBRN Defence Specialist Units from the Army were sent in to perform sampling activities. These activities were carried out at the same time as the decontamination of casualties.
Here, the military responders continue with their analysis of the scene.
The analysis was done on the rail tracks too.
Once they were finished with their analysis, responders went through a check.
They were then decontaminated.
Once all the activities were completed The PROACTIVE and eNOTICE exercise directors coordinated a formal “End Exercise.” Official thanks, conclusions, and farewell messages were delivered by both exercise directors.
Afterwards, volunteers, practitioners, observers and exercise organisers all came together for informal chats
Informal conversations continue in this photo.
At the end of a long day, everyone gathered for a group photo. PROACTIVE would like to thank once again the volunteers and observers who helped make this day a success!
A special thanks goes to NBC School, A.S.M. Rieti (STO), Caritas, Save the Children (Italy) and UNITOV. We would like to thank especially all volunteers of the exercise, who despite the bad weather on the day of the exercise came in large numbers. Without them, the successful exercise would not have been possible.
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