A Life Saving Hotline

Published Date: 10 November 2006

© IAEA The IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) in Vienna is a 24-hour contact point for notification and support to countries dealing with nuclear or radiological emergencies. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) In Indonesia a mock exercise involving a 'dirty bomb' is used to train local officials on ways to respond to security threats involving radioactive materials. The IEC works with countries to help them prepare for potential nuclear and radiological emergencies ahead of time. (Photo: T. McKenna/IAEA) Doctors are among emergency workers who have to recognize symptoms of radiation exposure in victims. The IEC has developed training material for 'first responders' including medical professionals, police and firefighters, who are often the first on the scene in an emergency. (Photo: T. McKenna/IAEA) Mock drills test the IEC's capabilities to respond to calls for help and quickly coordinate international assistance. A recent training scenario was an accident at a nuclear power plant. The mock emergency lasted 50 hours straight, in an exercise that involved over 60 countries and seven international organizations. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) It's a life-saving hotline. Elena Buglova was part of the IEC team to answer Chile's call for assistance, after a construction worker was severely burned by a radioactive source in December 2005. The fast assessment "helped to save his life," Ms Buglova says. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) Radiation experts successfully track down radioactive material during a 'dirty bomb' training exercise in Indonesia in 2005. (Photo: T. McKenna/IAEA) IEC head Warren Stern (centre) says it is a priority to strengthen global cooperation in case of a terrorist attack involving nuclear or radioactive materials. "We're working closely with Member States to help them to develop their national response capabilities," he says. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) Inside the IEC's storage room, IAEA physicist Florian Baciu checks equipment to detect radiation. Earlier this year, Mr Baciu was sent to Venezuela to monitor a recovery operation of a misplaced radioactive source and learn how it fell out of regulatory control. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) The IEC recently underwent a million dollar upgrade, with financial support from the United States and other countries. In an emergency threatening transboundary consequences, the Centre leverages global resources and expertise to respond to nuclear and radiological accidents anywhere in the world. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)