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State-Level Mock Exercise Enhances Chemical Disaster Preparedness in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: In a proactive move to bolster preparedness and response capabilities in the face of potential chemical disasters, Odisha, in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), conducted a comprehensive State-level Mock Exercise on Chemical Disaster on January 11. The exercise spanned 28 identified industries across 10 districts, including Angul, Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Mayurbhanj, Rayagada, Sundergarh, and the Paradip Port.

The primary objective of the mock exercise was to streamline emergency response mechanisms and identify gaps in detection, early warning, alert systems, evacuation procedures, and emergency response and containment strategies at both industrial and local government levels.

Industry-specific scenarios related to the handling of chemicals and hazardous materials formed the basis of the mock exercise. Paradip Port, for instance, conducted a simulation based on an oil spill scenario. Participating industries responded to the simulated situations in accordance with their established response mechanisms, utilizing available equipment and adhering to standard operating procedures.

The exercise also involved the mobilization of additional resources, such as fire brigades and medical teams, by the respective district administrations. Nearby villagers were evacuated to identified safe shelters based on the threat situation. Top management, incident response teams, district and block administration officials, local police, fire and emergency services, medical teams, Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members, and community volunteers actively participated in the exercise.

Specialized teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were deployed to various industries, while senior officers from the District Administration assumed the role of Incident Commanders to coordinate response activities and resource mobilization.

State-level technical observers from organizations such as the Directorate of Factories and Boilers, State Pollution Control Board, Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, and CISF closely monitored the mock exercise.

Following the conclusion of the exercise, a debriefing session was conducted through virtual mode at the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC), Bhubaneswar. The session, chaired by Dr. Gyana Das, IAS, Managing Director, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), included representatives from the administrations of the 10 districts, identified industries, Paradip Port Authority, nominated Incident Commanders, and Technical Observers. The participants discussed various observations and feedback, contributing to the ongoing efforts to enhance Odisha’s preparedness for chemical disasters.

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