The GICHD is happy to announce that it will be holding an Ammunition Storage Practitioner course in Switzerland which will be supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS).
The aim of the course is to introduce students to the basic principles of ammunition storage area (ASA) safety and security in accordance with International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG). It is open to officers, NCOs and civilian MoD and MFA staff who are involved, or may need information, in ammunition storage and handling at the practitioner level.
Training language will be English.
The course will lay the foundations of good ammunition storage and provide advice on how to run an ASA on a day to day basis. It is a beginners' course and will give an introduction to ammunition and explosives before going through some of the steps required to ensure a safe and efficient ASA. Those applying for this course should have little or no knowledge of ammunition and its storage but should have need of this information for a future role. At the end of the course students will be aware of how to identify unsafe practices, and breaches of IATG storage guidelines.
Ammunition storage area safety
Aging, excess, and unstable stockpiles of conventional ammunition pose dual threats of illicit proliferation and accidental explosion, which could cause humanitarian disasters and destabilize individual countries or complete regions. There is an increasing awareness that many people are at risk of being killed or injured due to poorly maintained or unsecured ammunition. This is not only ammunition which has been fired in conflict or training and has failed to function; but also ammunition stocks which are vulnerable to sabotage, theft, fire and explosion due to poor management or degradation. Poor handling and storage can result in explosions involving tons of ammunition, often in areas surrounded by dense populations. The GICHD is developing a pro-active, coordinated approach to secure and maintain stocks of ammunition, to destroy surplus stock and to segregate and destroy those stocks which are in an unsafe condition. The ultimate aim of the GICHD is to assist states in applying good ammunition safety management practices to all their ammunition stocks and facilities, reducing the potential for explosions in ASAs and thereby reducing the risk to the civil population.
Ammunition storage area operations
Once ammunition is correctly stored and under an effective ammunition management regime in permanent, IATG Risk Reduction Process Level 1, 2 or 3 facilities it needs day to day management. This course will raise students' awareness of how to correctly store and handle ammunition, how to maintain an ASA and what to do to ensure the ASA is safe and secure. Explosive Storehouse (ESH) inspections, grounds maintenance, fire prevention/reaction and security are all elements of management which, if overlooked, can have disastrous consequences. The catastrophic effects of an explosion in an ASA cannot be overstated – many deaths and injuries can occur, in addition to the damage caused to local structures and the potential disruption of the infrastructure of the whole region.
Participation in this course does not require previous experience with mine action, ammunition handling or explosive ordnance disposal. It does however require the active participation of students during the training.
The Swiss Government will cover participant expenses for food (lunch) and accommodation while in Spiez (3 September, date of arrival to 9 September, latest date of departure). In addition, there are a limited number of subsidies for transportation to and from the course available. It is imperative that applicants wishing subsidies for transportation get in touch with the GICHD as soon as possible, before making any arrangements, and not later than the application deadline.