The sudden death of Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky captured the attention of the UK and global media over the weekend and into this week. Initially, there was speculation that Berezovsky’s death might have shared similarities with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, who was poisoned by the radioactive substance Polonium-210.
CBRN checks by the emergency services were prompted after a paramedic’s personal electronic dosimeter (PED) – a health and safety device – was triggered. While it appears that Berezovsky’s death is not now being seen as suspicious, the case captured our attention because it highlighted the importance of thorough training and preparedness related to possible CBRN incidents.
Although the release of chemicals and other dangerous contaminants – either deliberate or accidental – occur infrequently, their extremely dangerous nature makes it critical for the emergency services and first responders to be fully prepared, to protect both themselves and members of the public. This can only be achieved by regular training using the most-up-to-date simulation instruments and techniques.
The Berezovsky affair demonstrates that it is not only the risk of major incidents that have to be considered; emergency service personnel have to be prepared for every eventuality.