Last year, the EPA and the Ministry of Education jointly established the Southern Emergency Response Training Center of Toxic Substances (hereinafter referred to as the Southern Training Center) at National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology. This year, the center obtained certification from Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) in the USA, thus becoming the East Asian region’s first internationally recognized emergency response training center for toxic substance incidents. In the future, it will serve as an international training center for East Asia. EPA Minister Tzi-Chin Chang was given a special invitation to attend the center’s first anniversary celebration held on 3 August 2022.
The Southern Training Center is Taiwan’s first training center for toxic substance emergency response. Its purpose is to train professional emergency response personnel to deal with toxic chemical incidents, thereby enhancing emergency response capacities of enterprises. This year, it obtained certification from TEEX to become the first internationally recognized training center for toxic substance emergency response in East Asia. In the future, it will also serve East Asia as an international training center. Minister Chang praised the center for proactively opening classes this year and for its efforts in training emergency response personnel. It has effectively enhanced the disaster rescue capacities of enterprises and government agencies, thus helping to safeguard the public’s property and safety while reducing risks for emergency response personnel.
Looking at domestic and international accident-handling experiences, the most effective way to prevent and mitigate toxic substance disasters is to strengthen the emergency response capabilities of enterprises so that they can effectively limit the scale of disasters right from the start. Involving trainees in practical exercises and simulated operations at professional training sites is one of the most effective ways to improve emergency response training. The EPA and the Ministry of Education cooperated on building the Southern Training Center, which was planned in 2014 and constructed over three years. The center held its first class on 3 August 2021.
The Southern Training Center is Taiwan’s first professional training site for toxic substance emergency response, providing training in different types of chemical laboratories and modes of transportation. Since it began operating on 3 August 2021, the center has conducted 67 courses and trained 5,583 persons, playing an important role in training for chemical incident prevention and mitigation in Taiwan. Recently, it has also been actively advancing towards becoming an international training organization. In addition to being the first learning center cooperating with TEEX in East Asia, it will also grant trainees who receive professional emergency response training in the center dual qualifications, including a TEEX certificate in accordance with the US NFPA 472/1072 standard.
The EPA stated that there are approximately 3,743 operators that handle chemical substances of toxicity and concern in Taiwan. According to regulations, they must register their certified professional emergency response personnel starting from 1 January 2024. Currently, there are four certified training organizations in Taiwan that can provide disaster prevention and rescue personnel training to operators to enhance their disaster response capabilities and overall emergency response awareness.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, August 2022
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)