Hotzone Solutions and six partners have been awarded the CATCH Project by the municipality of The Hague, city of justice, peace and security, and the Dutch Ministry of Finance, in December 2010. The chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) advanced training curriculum The Hague, or CATCH Project, aims at developing a comprehensive and EU-standardised CBRN training and educational curriculum, The Hague CBRN Curriculum (HCC), covering the full spectrum of CBRN response and ranging from first responders to policy makers.

The danger of a terrorist attack with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear agents or (improvised) explosive devices (CBRNe) is real and of great concern. Over the last decades, several terrorists’ attacks around the world have proven that they can strike anywhere and pose a serious CBRNe menace. It is now of major importance that international cities, and especially The Hague, which presents itself worldwide as the city of justice, peace and security, prepare themselves to effectively respond to such threats.

When CBRNe incidents occur, the role of first responders and emergency workers is vital. In order to correctly deal with such situations, knowledge and training are essential as they ensure CBRNe incidents are addressed in the most effective way. The different specialisations of first responders including firemen, police, ambulance services and defence personnel should include some degree of knowledge of CBRN. At present, due to the variety of first-responders and emergency services involved in the event of CBRNe incidents within member states of the European Union, there is no standard training for CBRNe responders within Europe.

With the CATCH Project, Hotzone Solutions and its partners hope to meet this need, also expressed by the European Council in the EU CBRN Action Plan as the wish for an ‘adequate and sustainable training program at EU level’.

The CATCH Project started on 1 November 2010 and will stretch over two years. It will be implemented by a consortium of seven partners, including Hotzone Solutions.

Other Project Partners are:

  • IB Consultancy
  • Promotech BV
  • Thales UK
  • OPCW
  • The Clingendael Institute
  • NEN

The project aims at:

  • Providing the municipality of The Hague with a complete and certified CBRN response training program and educational curriculum of international appeal, covering the full spectrum, from basic knowledge, to live agent training, to a Masters’ course.
  • Developing the HCC, which consists of four components:
    • E-learning strategy and e-learning introductory course
    • Serious gaming simulation
    • Live agent training
    • Masters’ course at the Clingendael Institute
  • Obtaining the HCC recognition as a European Standard in an European Committee for Standardisation Workshop Agreement.
  • Strongly motivating the stakeholders concerned to develop a regional homeland security with international customers.

The CATCH Project is divided into several ‘work packages’. Hotzone Solutions will be participating in the development of an e-learning strategy and e-learning environment whereby users can acquire basic knowledge on CBRN agents and response together with IB Consultancy. The live agent training (LAT), with chemical warfare agents, radiological emitters and biological simulants, will be entirely developed and delivered by Hotzone Solutions.

The HCC will be the first curriculum meeting the criteria set by the European Union and the OPCW. In fact, its requirements are co-designed by the CATCH Project partners. The HCC’s ultimate aim consists of developing both a strategy and a training whose implementation could well be extended to the whole of the EU.

By allowing the CATCH Project to be developed and implemented, the municipality of The Hague and the Dutch Ministry of Finance have certainly taken the next step in their anti-terrorist and CBRNe threat strategy. Hotzone Solutions is proudly part of this outstanding project.