Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Mr Matthew Payas and the Airport Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Senior Fire Office, Mr Adrian Hernandez recently attended a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Strategic Command Course at National CBRN Centre which is part of the UK’s Counter Terrorism Policing.
Operating at the highest tier of the command structure, the Strategic Commander (Gold) provides the overall strategic command of an incident, setting the strategy and objectives. They will set any tactical parameters and retain the holistic oversight and operational command and responsibility of any CBRN operation or incident.
Other course attendees included Fire, Police, Ambulance, MOD, UK Government Departments and UK local authority representatives. The sessions were based on the overarching legal obligations set in the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) and followed the key principles of multi-agency working as outlined in the Joint Emergency Service Interoperability Programme (JESIP). The course was delivered by subject matter experts from across a range of specialist fields including Government Scientific Advisors.
The course prepares Commanders to deal with a major CBRN incident at the strategic level. Delegates are trained to develop a dynamic CBRN strategy appropriate to the assessed threat posed, available intelligence and adhering to applicable legislation and guidance to ensure a positive resolution to these type of incidents and emergencies.
The joint attendance by Gibraltar’s Fire Services shows the mutual commitment by both these organisations to promote interoperability and continue their good working relationship to ensure a safer Gibraltar.
Chief Fire Officer Colin Ramirez and Senior Fire Officer Nicky Viñales said: “In preparation for these and other types of emergencies, we recognise the fact that Gibraltar is not immune to any of threat. As such, we have an obligation to prepare and not allow complacency to set in, ensuring that we continue to develop our knowledge and expertise in line with our UK counterparts and in relation to existing local risks. Strong leadership and a solid partnership between both our Fire Services can only lead to an improved emergency response for the benefit of Gibraltar citizens and its visitors.
The Minister for Civil Contingencies and the Fire Services, the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP, said: “I am pleased that the Office of Civil Contingencies has facilitated attendance on this important course through their strong links with the National CBRN Centre, a key part of UK’s Counter Terrorism Policing. It is important that we continue to grow our expertise in this specialist field in order to ensure that Gibraltar is best prepared to deal with this type of complex threat. This year will see further investment in CBRN training across our Emergency Services and other first responders as we aim to continue to develop Gibraltar’s capabilities in this field.”