Rohil participated in the Stayin' Connected exercised that took place on the ground of the Civil Protection in Brasschaat, Belgium, on Tuesday 26 November 2019, and simulated the response to a terrorist incident involving biological agents. The company participated as part of the Biological Light Fieldable laboratory for Emergencies (B-LiFE) consortium.

The exercise was used to train and develop specialised capacities for CBRNe incidents (chemical, biological, radiological, radiological, nuclear and explosives), while also testing information exchange and communications between participating agencies. It involved the participated of 75 people from the consortium, also well as specialised services of the Belgium Federal Police, Defence and Civil Protection, as well as the CBRNe Centre of Expertise of the National Crisis Centre.

About 50 observers and VIPs also attended the exercise to assess the operational and policy challenges in the field of CBRNe and telecommunications. This included Belgium experts and their peers from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO.

The exercise links up with the European projects GIFT (Generic Integrated Forensic Toolbox), H2020-eNotice (European Network of CBRN Training Centres) and ESA/B-LiFE (Biological Light Fieldable Laboratory System). The B-LiFE Consortium was in charge of the coordination of the communication and situational analysis tools (Telecommunication Emergency Node (TEN) integrating satellite communication, the TETRA/ASTRID, LTE, Wi-Fi and earth observation with Copernicus and GNSS-Galileo).

Within the ESA/B-LiFE project Rohill tested several communication capabilities that are part of the Telecommunication Emergency Node, with streaming video over the broadband private LTE network and integration between a private TetraNode network and the countrywide ASTRID TETRA system. In case the incident occurs in a remote area without connection to another communication system the private TETRA and LTE systems were connected to crisis centres via satellite.

Jorn Bronselaer, employed at the Directorate General of Civil Protection and general coordinator of the exercise: “This exercise builds on the BioGarden exercise of 19 June 2018 on the military domain in Peutie. The objective was now to anchor those results and to further elaborate on the lessons learned. The exercise is a great opportunity to strengthen together the interoperable preparedness for complex situations. Procedures, technologies and systems are continually being optimised by needs-based innovation for deployment on national and international territory. At the debriefing, the elements to be worked on are identified to ameliorate training and integration. It is crucial to increase mutual awareness on the ways of working and the specialisations of the actors involved and this joint exercise was therefore greatly appreciated.”

Lenard Molhoek, solution specialist at Rohill, added: “After the success of the BioGarden exercise in 2018, this exercise was again a great success in which the lessons learned from the BioGarden exercise have been applied. It was a pleasure to work together with the B-LiFE consortium, being able to deliver vital communications all over the world with our rapid deployment systems including private TETRA and LTE.”

Author: Sam Fenwick