European Exercise "VAR 2008" (Various Attack Response) - 4/6 November 2008
The Department of Civil Protection is taking part in the European exercise organised by the French Ministry of the Interior – Direction de la Sécurité civile (DSC) and the Var Prefettura.
The exercise began on 4 November and will end on 6 November in the area of Canjuers.
The simulation aims to test the French chain of command and control “in-field”, as well as coordination of operations and the use of civil protection modules following multiple NBCR (nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological) terrorist attacks.
The countries taking part are: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Czech Republic, Spain and Sweden.
In fact, the different scenarios of “VAR 2008” develop around the simulation of a terrorist attack with non-conventional arms and see the involvement of medical units, the fire service and rescue teams flanked by the police forces and coordinated by the Prefettura of Var.
The first stage of the exercise involves the response to an attack with the dispersion of biological agents inside a cinema. In the second stage, rescue workers are the target of an attack carried out using a "dirty bomb”. The third stage involves the management of the consequences of the explosion of a vehicle and the dispersion of chemical agents in a stadium.
Italy has sent a search and rescue team from the Fire Service composed of 31 units from different Italian regional headquarters, 12 vehicles, a coordination unit made up of two officials from the Department of Civil Protection and an observer from the Fire Service.
The team includes experts in the analysis of contaminating agents, in decontamination and in NBCR intervention operations The main task of the team is to detect radioactive or chemical substances, rescue the people involved in the disaster and transfer them to suitable hospitals.
The intervention modules are a new feature introduced as part of the modifications to the Community Mechanism for Civil Protection made following the decision of the European Council in November 2007. These modifications aim to strengthen interoperability between member States should a catastrophe occur inside or outside the European Union, also through the use of units with pre-set characteristics and composition, specialised in the execution of a specific task.
“VAR 2008” represents an important test insofar as the abovementioned modules are being used for the first time in a “full scale” exercise that is aimed at testing out the effectiveness and complementarity of the tools used for command and control, as well as operational identification skills and treatment of victims.