First responders and disaster management professionals practice skills to save lives at Wonderboom National Airport
A three-hour emergency simulation was held on 1 August 2019 at Wonderboom National Airport in Pretoria with 60 first responders and disaster management professionals participating in order to prepare for large-scale emergencies such as Cyclone Idai. The simulation formed part of the week-long ‘Disaster Scene and Mortuary Management Course’, bringing together participants from nine countries across the African continent including Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. The course aims to strengthen the capacity of first responders, forensic practitioners and disaster managers to lead and participate in multi-agency disaster response with a specific focus how to manage mass casualties.
“Today`s simulation shows the importance of well-coordinated regional and continental partnerships to saving lives and minimising casualties during natural and human-made disasters,” says International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) forensic specialist, Neil Morris. “We are committed to supporting the public authorities’ efforts to build resilient systems that can address these complex challenges through the exchange of international best practice.”
In its second year, the course is organised in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Health Forensic Pathology Service, the University of Pretoria`s African School for Humanitarian Forensic Action (ASHFA) and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (Australia).
The emergency exercise included a simulated aircraft crash that allowed participants to observe best practice in the management of a disaster scene. Police cordoned off the scene. The exercise provided an opportunity for first responders and disaster management professionals to apply the standard operating procedures to manage natural and human-made disasters including mass fatalities. The dignified recovery and management of human remains is an important part of disaster response. Representatives from the Gauteng Forensic Pathology Service also participated in the exercise.
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Photos: Khatija Nxedlana
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