Exercise SHARED ACCORD 2022 Accident Scene and Chemical Spill Scenarios Test Soldiers and Civilians Alike.

Richards Bay’s Tuzi Gaza Waterfront area was abuzz with activity on the morning of Saturday 23 July 2022, as soldiers from the South African National Defence Force and members of the American New York Army National Guard engaged in a live accident scene response in concert with local emergency medical response personnel, as well as a simulated chemical spill drill.

While operational medics of the South African Medical Health Service (SAMHS) and their civilian paramedic counterparts responded to a mass casualty automobile accident scene at one site, another grouping of South African Military Health Service Chemical, Biological, Radiological (CBR) members closed in on a tanker truck chemical spill and extricated casualties overwhelmed by fumes so that they could be decontaminated and taken for further treatment.

South African Army paratroopers and New York Army Guard soldiers wore Semi-Permeable Protective (Chemical and Biological) Suits protecting them from the effects of chemical weapons and hazardous chemicals, and secured the perimeter while the health care professionals assisted the injured.

The accident scene scenarios’ casualties were evacuated to nearby critical care points including the South African Military Health Service’s field hospital at the uMhlathuze Multi Sports Complex, while those overwhelmed by the chemical spill were taken to a nearby mobile decontamination site for processing and similar transport to off-site critical care.

The goal of the two simulated scenarios was for members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and their American counterparts to work together in challenging situations, and for local disaster and emergency response partners to be involved to gain a civilian perspective.

Article and Photographs by Capt J.J.P. de Vries || South African National Defence Force Joint Operations Division || Exercise SHARED ACCORD 2022 Operational Communication Team.

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