THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: People stepping into the Central Stadium on Sunday morning would’ve been astonished at the flurry of activity - masked men in combat fatigues rushing about with strange equipment, three or four white, tent-like objects set up here and there and even 20-foot tall scaffoldings erected plump in the middle of the ground. To know why, be at the stadium at 2 pm on Monday.
Men of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion based in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, are in the city to give the general public tips on ‘Community-based disaster preparedness’ (CBDP). The demo, for which a rehearsal was played out on Sunday morning and evening, is being organised as part of the ‘Surakshayaanam-2012’ workshop and exhibition on disaster management organised by the Revenue and Disaster Management Department.
‘’The idea is to educate the general public on the need to be alert and to be equipped to handle crisis situations. We will be playing out a disaster scenario here to convey the idea,’’ Battalion commandant Mahendra Kumar Verma said.
The Arakkonam battalion, one of ten stationed in various parts of the country, specialises in handling CBRN disaster (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear disasters). Monday’s demo is meant to give the public an idea about how the NDRF works. How disasters of varied nature are dealt with and how search and rescue operations are carried out in the event of major disasters, for instance, a leak in a factory or a nuclear plant.
NDRF personnel, who are specially trained to meet such contingencies, are airlifted to the spot immediately for trouble-shooting.
The NDRF battalions are manned by personnel from the para-military arms such as CISF, ITBP, CISF and CRPF. Each battalion has 18 teams. The battalion at Arakkonam covers Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry.