EU-CHEM-REACT 2 Consortium project members from Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Lithuania, confirmed their commitment to develop and promote Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and prepare and conduct Full Scale Field Exercise (FX), a main and final element in the project implementation. They decided to move the FX till late April 2021, what was supported by the EU. The FX draft documentation including FX Manual and modalities for UCPM activation was agreed. The participants agreed to prepare FX COVID 19 safety and security manual. They welcome new project partners from Dortmund Fire Service and Institute for Fire and Rescue Technology of the City of Dortmund).
Second online Session of the FX Final Planning Conference (FPC) on 4th September, 2020, was attended by participants from all members of the EU-CHEM-REACT 2 Consortium from Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Lithuania, and partners from Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Germany, and international organisations: UN OCHA and WHO. The session was led by. Amb. Krzysztof Paturej, ICCSS President and EU-CHEM-REACT 2 Project Leader, and co-chaired by Prof. Miroslav Koval, Rector of Lviv University of Life Safety (LSULS), the FX host. Mrs. Mariangela Pelliccia from European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO) confirmed the importance of the EU-CHEM-REACT 2 program and its relevance to UCPM development and promotion.
All Consortium members confirmed an active participation in FX preparations and conduct. The decision to move the FX till spring 2021 (late April) was based on the safety considerations and predicted travel restrictions, what coud have prevented the participation of EU Civil Protection Team (EUCP Team) and EU Observers. The UCPM activation and presence of all of its key components, including use of Host Nation Support Guidelines, participation and international assistance via the coordination of Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), and active functioning of EUCP Team, have been confirmed as basis of FX conduct and key factor of its success.
The participants approved the first draft of the FX Manual, which contains all the relevant information on procedures on exercise conduct. This includes UCPM presentation, FX detailed objectives and scenario, functioning of the Exercise Management Team (EMT) and Base of Operation (BoA), Exercise venues, FX evaluation process, safety and security procedures.
Since the FX was moved till spring 2021, the participants decided to introduce new elements. The FX scenario will contain bio safety and security issues related to COVID-19. The scenario will further include additional episodes to meet the training requirements of international assistance teams. Participants further agreed to open FX to national CBRN teams for certification of capacities in European Civil Protection Pool. The international organisations, including UN OCHA, WHO, and OPCW were invited to develop and test during FX their relevant competences and procedures.
FX is considered as a European cooperation tool in disaster response among civil protection, humanitarian actors and international organisations. ICCSS, as the EU-CHEM-REACT 2 leader was invited to promote FX among the national and interational partners and enhance their participation to promote and expand UCPM.
The participants confirmed value of the development of the software to prepare and conduct exercises on-line.
The participants agreed to join the development a COVID-19 safety/security manual for FX conduct. It will be further developed as CBRN field exercises safety and security manual in time of pandemics. ICCSS and LSULS were requested to lead the Manual preparations. The national and international partners will be invited to develop this manual as an open source document. The first webinar on a COVID-19 safety/security manual for FX will be held in early October 2020.
The participants agreed to meet regularly on-line to consider progress in project implementation and FX preparations.
The session was followed by a series of bilateral meetings and consultations, which confirmed decision taken during the Session.
EU-CHEM-REACT-2 is program enhancing national and regional capacity building, civil protection and cooperation in reducing chemical threats, promoting and developing EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) through trainings and exercises. The project is constituted on a basis of unique regional and international partnership of international stakeholders from Belarus, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine in cooperation with the international agencies, including EU, UN OCHA, WHO (IHR) and is led by ICCSS.The program concentrates on testing, planning, preparedness and response to CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) via exercises, trainings, seminars and best practices exchanges
Full Scale Field Exercise (FX)
The FX developed and adapted for unique purposes of the EU-CHEM-REACT 2project, will test in practice the parts of scenario related chemical man-made and natural disasters. FX main focus on testing the use of UCPM and relevant information and assistance procedures of international organisations, including UN OCHA, OPCW, WHO (IRH). As a result, it will enhance response and coordination capacities in requesting and providing cross border assistance and Union Civil Protection Mechanism activation in case of events involving environmental emergencies.
EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM)
The overall objective of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is to strengthen cooperation between the EU Member States and 6 Participating States, in the field of civil protection, with a view to improve prevention, preparedness and response to disasters. When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the Mechanism. Through the Mechanism, the European Commission plays a key role in coordinating the response to disasters in Europe and beyond.