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Lebanon: Training on basic response to toxic agents

15-11-2013 News Release

Beirut (ICRC) – From 11 to 15 November, 18 staff from the main private and public ambulance service providers in Lebanon took part in a pilot training course organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on how to deal with events involving the release – deliberate or accidental – of nuclear, radiological, biological or chemical agents.

"The aim is to brief emergency medical-service workers on the basic techniques that should be used to respond to situations of contamination by chemicals and other toxic agents," said visiting ICRC specialist Steve Donnelly. "We're basically trying to show them how to protect themselves and assist possible victims."

The course is the first of its kind to be held with non-ICRC staff, including some from the Lebanese Red Cross, and outside the ICRC's Geneva headquarters.

"The course was held in Lebanon because the Lebanese Red Cross and other ambulance service providers expressed interest in expanding the knowledge of its volunteers and staff in this field," said Mr Donnelly. "The ICRC will now seek comments from all participants on whether the training was useful and whether it increased their knowledge of how to use protective equipment, how to recognize symptoms in possible victims and indicators in the environment, and how to assist victims while protecting themselves."

The ICRC has been supporting the Lebanese Red Cross, its main partner in the country, for many years and in many fields, for example by providing logistics training, ambulance fleet maintenance, information-technology equipment and medical supplies, and by upgrading the emergency medical-service centres of the Lebanese Red Cross to enable it to better respond to emergencies.

For further information, please contact:
Samar el Kadi, ICRC Beirut, tel. +961 70 153 928