Written by Sanjana Bhalera
After monsoon, cyclone and earthquake preparedness, the Mumbai civic body has prepared a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to tackle Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) attacks. The SOP includes an off-site plan, which is Geographic Information System (GIS)-enabled, giving details of shelters, transportation and medical facilities nearby in the event of any such attack.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will create a dedicated CBRN unit at KEM, which will later be replicated in all government hospitals.
According to officials, the current plan needs to be strengthened in terms of assigning responsibilities and fixing liability in case of an emergency. The plan include details of how to respond to such attacks – from evacuation to providing quick medical assistance and organising shelters. Under the SOP, 200 Central Disaster Response Force (CDRF) personnel, doctors and paramedics will be trained on how to provide first aid, evacuation, handling the injured, among others. The SOP also lists all kinds of chemical attacks, the antidotes and their availability.
The BMC has also mapped the areas – slums, residential and commercial areas, and schools, which are likely to be affected in case of accidents around chemical factories in the city. Most of these chemical factories are located in Mahul, Chembur and Deonar, the eastern suburbs of Mumbai. In August, a massive bast and fire in BPCL in Chembur had left 40 workers injured and shook areas around the refinery, triggering panic among local residents who had reported earthquake-like vibrations from as far as 4 km from the plant.
The first mock drill is scheduled for next month. Officials from the disaster management unit said, “The BMC has taken a cue from last year’s gas leak in Delhi.” The BMC had meetings with representatives from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), police, fire brigade, private hospitals, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Rashtriya Chemical Fertilizers (RCF), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health. It also held a workshop recently to test how its plan would work on the field. It will also hold workshops for all departments on CBRN preparedness, civic officials said.