By Ms. Selene Lentini, IB Consultancy, The Netherlands
The second event of 2022 took place in Rio de Janeiro, between the 22nd and the 24th of March. In partnership with the Brazilian Army, IB Consultancy and CBRNe society made it possible to accomplish another milestone event. NCT América del Sur was a success: the perfect blend of government, academia and industry representatives. Forte de Copacabana became the stage for two days of conference, a technology exhibition, trainings and networking receptions. More than 200 delegates from the region – mainly from Brazil, Colombia and Chile – contributed to the massive effort that resulted in a praised symposium.
On the first day of the event, the participants had the chance to enjoy the demonstration organized by the Brazilian Army, as per agenda “Demonstration de Capacidad en Vivo”: the 1st CBRN Defense Battalion showcased its capabilities with a realistic CBRN incident scenario. The battalion executed a drill that allowed to show the equipment and procedures used to decontaminate victims with different levels of severity of signs and symptoms. The exercise included the detection of the agent, of the operators and of vehicles. A scenario that allowed the public to enjoy the entire sequence of action and the zoning procedures.
From the morning of the second day of the event, the conference stream built momentum starting with the opening plenary and continuing with five sessions and the closing plenary. Experts from academia, government institutions and the industry took stage sharing knowledge and perspectives with thought-provoking presentations.
Representatives from Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Perù and Uruguay, but also from Spain and the USA, populated the agenda, presenting in the context of the five sessions devoted to different topics: the response to chemical hazmat incidents ( “Respuesta a los Incidentes con Materiales Quimicos Peligrosos”), the threat of landmines and UXO in conflict areas (“La amenaza de las minas terrestres y de los restos explosivos de guerra en las zonas que han sufrido conflictos”), the preparation to the next pandemic (“Preparandose para la enfermedad X: anticipar y responder a la proxima amenaza biologica”), the challenges of fighting Improvised Explosives Devices (“Los retos de la lucha contra los artefactos explosivos improvisados C-IEDs”) , the detection and prevention of radiological threats and Nuclear Security in Latin America (“Detactar y Anticipar Amenazas Radiologicas y de Seguridad Nuclear en America Latina”), and the adaptation to the CBRN threats of the current century (“Adaptar las Fuerzas a las Amenazas NBQRe del siglo XXI”).
High-level organizations and institutions were represented by the speakers: the Eastern Military Command, the 1st CBRN Defence Battalion, the 1st Parachutist Combat Engineer Company, the CBRN Defence institute of the Technological Center and the G-3 of the Brazilian Army, the military Firefighters Corps of the police of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Military Institute of Engineering and the Laboratory of Acute Febrile Diseases National Institute of Infectology of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the Mexican High Specialty Regional Hospital Ixtapaluca,the Official Bogotá Firefighters, the Chemical Information Center of Peru, the Colombian Military University “Nueva Granada”, the Argentinian Cordobá Provincial Police and the 12th Army Engereers battalion “Monte”, and the U.S. Southern Command.
The NCT América del Sur industry exhibition collected positive feedbacks from both the industry representatives and the diverse group of delegates. Fourteen companies showcased their products in the expo area enjoying the networking opportunities granted by the ample spaces and booths at their disposal. The potential of the expo area has been exploited thanks to the ad hoc Tech Tours, conceived to foster networking, communications and knowledge sharing. The Tech Tours are indeed thematic itineraries to introduce the companies to groups of delegates with specific interests: CBRNE Identification, CBRN Training and Radiological Detection and Decontamination Systems and Medical Countermeasures were the three topics of the tours organized in the welcoming venue of the Forte de Copacabana. Furthermore, coffee and lunch breaks offered further possibilities for discussions and contact exchanges among the participants.
The third pillar of the NCT Events, the NCT Pro eXperience training, was also a praised success: eleven teams from seven different units conducted two days of training. Four sessions and four scenarios gave to all the teams the chance of conducting drills with experienced trainers and the latest technological equipment. The firefighters of Bogota, Colombia (Cuerpo Oficial Bomberos de Bogotá D.C.), the Hazmat unit of the fighters of Quito, Ecuador (Unidad de Materiales Peligrosos, Bomberos de Quito), the Brazilian Army 1st CBRN Defence Battalion (1 Batallón de Defensa Química, Biológica, Radiológica y Nuclear), the EOD Unit of the Rio de Janeiro State police (Esquadrão Antibomba – CORE, Policia Civil, Rio de Janeiro), the Army airborne engineers of the 1st Combat Engineering Company Paratrooper (1ª Companhia de Engenharia de Combate Pára-quedista), the Brazilian Navy CBRN Defence Battalion (Batalhão de Defesa Nuclear, Biológica, Química e Radiológica – BtlDefNBQR) along with the Brazilian Navy Combat Divers (Grupamento de Mergulhadores De Combate) and the Marine engineers (Batalhão de Engenharia de Fuzileiros Navais) participated to the training with different teams that had the chance to work combined in mixed units, having therefore the chance to cooperate with operators from different countries and with different expertise. The four different story outlines allowed the teams to experience distinct scenarios encompassing a clandestine lab, a suspected package, a suspected car and a CBRN IED. The teams were engaged in reconnaissance, detection, and sampling and forensics activities.
In conclusion, NCT América del Sur exceeded the expectations, resulting in a praised event that received excellent feedbacks from all the participating categories. The NCT events team continues the work for the upcoming NCT Europe 2022 – ready to reach another sensational achievement.