The Man Behind The Helmet

NRBC-E Drill

During the summer of 2014, just when I was following my first guard duties, I had the luck to be invited to watch an extensive exercise involving the firefighters, the forces of the French Gendarmerie and police and the hospitals. It was a drill focused on the risk of explosions: Nuclear, Radiological, Biological, Chemical. The scenario was simple: a chemical attack in a vehicle of public transportation, in Lyon. Volunteers had been requisitioned to play the victims, particularly among student nurses, while small badges, worn as pendants, informed the participants (firefighters or medical personnel) of the state of these victims.

At the beginning of the drill, the firefighters are called after an explosion in a bus. A normal team, in a vehicle similar to the ones used for every intervention, responds without knowing anything about the situation. The men have to determine that it is a chemical explosion and assess the number of victims and the extent of the destruction… From there, the wheel of the process sets in motion. The firefighters are already on site to take care of the victims; the men of the bomb squad arrive with their robot, to find out if there is a chemical contamination or not, and a possible risk of radiation; then there is the decontamination of the site and people.

I feel very privileged to have been authorized to take part in such a training, with so many members of the official rescue corps.