Training readies Senegal for regional emergency response role


The United States Defence Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA’s) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Security Cooperation Engagement Programme concluded a 6-year cooperative Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Preparedness and Response training programme with the Senegalese National Fire Brigade’s Sapeur Pompiers CBRN Unit in September.

Building on the Pompiers’ successes during Senegal’s participation in June’s African Lion 21 exercise, the programme’s end marks the unit’s transition from a building phase to its sustainment as a trained and ready CBRN response organization, the DTRA said. This effort was celebrated during a ceremony at the Senegalese National Fire Brigade’s headquarters in Dakar, Senegal, on 10 September.

Going forward the Sapeur Pompiers CBRN unit will continue to partner with additional US organizations, including the Vermont National Guard via the State Partnership Programme. Through these linkages, the unit can ensure this critical CBRN response capability stays ahead of emerging threats, the DTRA said.

The DTRA has worked closely with Senegal to enable an active CBRN Response Framework, National Response Plan, and Command and Control system that are capable of an effective CBRN response and of mitigating hazardous threats within Senegal’s borders. The team capitalized on this final engagement to validate the Brigade’s standard operating procedures and confirm operational status of all equipment. The Fire Brigade is now capable of fully assessing hazardous sites, conducting dismounted reconnaissance, initiating sampling of known and unknown CBRN materials, and conducting mass casualty decontamination. These skills will better enhance Senegal’s national-level Emergency Operations Centre response capacity.

“The program highlights the US and Senegalese partnership aimed at regional and international security, and a combined effort to halt the proliferation of WMD and the illicit transfer of related materials,” the DTRA said, adding that it has supported US Africa Command’s Security Cooperation efforts since 2015 to include related efforts in Morocco and Kenya, with all efforts concluding by the end of 2021. At that time, all three nations will serve as regional leaders in Africa for responding to CBRN incidents and supporting the overall CWMD mission.