How Denmark is practising its response to a chemical weapons attack

Denmark’s National Police will join a series of public and private organizations next week in practicing its response to a hypothetical chemical weapons attack.

How Denmark is practising its response to a chemical weapons attack
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

How would police and other emergency services respond if Denmark were to find itself under attack by chemical weapons? 

The National Police will carry out its crisis response exercise for such a scenario on September 12th.

“Chemical events” are the subject of the exercise, which is entitled Krisøv 2019 (Crisis Exercise 2019), the National Police said in a press release.

The exercise will involve maintaining infrastructure such as transport, food supplies and communication in such a situation of crisis.

The specific scenario which will form the background for the exercise will be a chemical weapons attack in south-eastern Jutland, according to the press release. All levels of society will be tested, from government to local authorities.

Ministries, police, emergency services, health services, companies, media and embassies will all be involved in the trial run, which will aim to demonstrate Denmark’s preparedness for a national crisis.

“Fortunately, Denmark is a peaceful country. But you cannot rule that we may one day be hit by one or more serious incidents. We have to be ready for a major emergency,” Ulrik Keller, head of the Danish emergency services’ Centre for Crisis Response (Beredskabsstyrelsens Center for Krisestyring) said in the press statement.

Similar exercises have been conducted once every other year in Denmark since 2003, although 2019 is set to be the most wide-ranging thus far, with over 30 organizations or authorities set to take part.

“We will push participants on their abilities to respond and work together to guide society through one or more serious incidents with as few consequences for the public as possible,” National Police head of training Michael Kristiansen said.

“The aim of this exercise is to learn so we can develop and improve our crisis control systems and capacities in general. So the tempo will be high, so we can see where any cracks might begin to appear in a national crisis control system under pressure,” Kristiansen added.

Participants will be presented with dilemmas relating to challenges including rescue, evacuation, maintaining law and order, first aid and foreign diplomacy.

The exercise will be followed by an evaluation process which will help participating actors to adjust and improve their existing response protocols.

The exercise can be followed on Twitter by searching the hashtag #KRISØV2019.

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