Health CBRN decontamination

(To Francesco Castello)

Bio-terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, chemical warfare, bacteriological weapons, atomic bombs, are just some of the most common phrases used to describe journalistically and in films the risk of using biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear substances in a conventional context and not . To respond to this possible insult little known by the citizens, Italy boasts a highly respected organization that also plays its part in the international operating scenarios.

This article focuses on the health response in the CBRN defense field, underlining an important excellence with Italian exclusivity that constantly operates behind the scenes, that is, the CBRN decontamination nuclei and the bio-containment units of the Voluntary Military Corps of the Italian Red Cross, whose training of the personnel employed, the materials, equipment, vehicles and field structures used, are prepared according to the most recent NATO doctrine in the "CBRN Defense" field and in line with the 2019 - 2022 multi-year Programmatic Document published by the Ministry of Defense .

Let's start with training, which is the foundation of this response system: the highly selected teaching staff performs a first phase of acquiring teaching skills at another Italian excellence, the NBC Inter-Force School of the Ministry of Defense located in the Verdirosi Barracks in Rieti, whose motto reads "a new offense, a new defense".

After passing the online phase for access to the school, the staff carries out the first basic OP.1 course to continue in the further specialties and only after having achieved the coveted qualification, the CBRN OP.3 course can be accessed for precisely to qualify the future Instructors. At the end of the five-week course, the CRI military will have to support a "Crash Course for CBRN Instructors", designed to provide additional teaching skills on units of the Voluntary Military Corps. Some of them will return to the School to gain the qualification as a CBRN consultant / expert after a few days, in order to assume the post of director of future internal qualification courses. Only at this point with a team of highly qualified and specialized Instructors and Consultants, the aforementioned Corps starts with twenty-one days of training, the qualifying training of the assistance personnel for rescuers, nurses and doctors in the field of CBRN Sanitary Defense. At the end of this phase, the staff will be ready to operate in the field, but also to carry out further periods of qualification, certification, internal qualification and joint exercises, as as mentioned the training is always at the base.

The CBRN Health Defense authorized operator will therefore guarantee the operational capacity of the CBRN Decontamination Units, with the main function of activation in the contexts of "National Civil Defense", to increase the sanitary filtering capacity in the ROLE (Advanced Military Medical Post) in operational theater and in national contexts, and bio-containment units. The latter had the baptism of fire with the start of the Operation Mare Nostrum in the 2013, setting up LPD-equipped Navy ships, the bio-containment chambers with the help of the ISOARK N36 stretchers for the first containment response of potentially infected subjects and any helicopter transport, specially prepared for these exceptional medical devices technological value.

Subsequently the Corps self-designed and produced with its best technicians, a modular shelter structure, capable of collecting the "expanded" type BIO unit on land, with an autonomous operational capacity of continuous level over time and the use of seven military personnel of the CRI Even today, the Corps does not stop its level of training and operational improvement in this unique context, which in recent times has involved State and international bodies for the sharing of standards that have been excellently achieved. Since the offense in this particular environment will always change, as is typical in many cases for viruses, following the motto "a new offense, new defense", even the Voluntary Military Corps will be able to create any kind of renewal, able to respond promptly in every tactical-operational dimensional concept.

I conclude with the conviction that the units described may still represent the future of the health response for CBRN Defense or rather the security that for our Armed Forces and citizens there will always be those who will best know how to help after more than XNX years of history.

"Inter Arma Caritas"

Photo: web / CMCRI