Khalifa University held a “sand table” exercise at its Abu Dhabi campus earlier this week, as part of its “Introduction to Civil Security” class for students taking the MA in International and Civil Security.
The exercise, which is called a “sand table” based on the ancient practice of using constrained sand for modeling or educational purposes, involved Khalifa University students, faculty and staff, as well as, representatives from the Abu Dhabi Police and Civil Defense. Participants were asked to act out a scenario in which there was a small chemical spill in one of Khalifa University’s labs, and then map the response on building maps and a table top model of the campus, while assessing the quality of the response and the response time of those involved.
“Khalifa University boasts several state of the art labs where active research is being conducted,” said Dr. Mohammed Al Mualla, Senior Vice President of Research and Development. “Some of this research requires the use of potentially hazardous materials, and the University takes every measure to ensure the safety of its labs, students, faculty, and staff. Exercises like this one are an excellent opportunity to test our preparedness and measure our reaction times in the unlikely event of an accident. It also gives our Masters students the opportunity to learn in an interactive way, which is an invaluable experience.”
The exercise required the participants to break into groups and discuss the reactions to the simulated incident, evaluating the response in terms of decontamination, evacuation, containment times and reactions, as well as, communication between the concerned parties.
A live call was also made to 999, after a request from the Abu Dhabi Police and Civil Defense, so that they could assess their own responses.
“Khalifa University’s partnerships with the Abu Dhabi Police and Civil Defense are valuable in many ways,” continued Dr. Al Mualla. “Our MA in Civil and International Security was created with the needs of the UAE in mind, particularly the needs of the police and other similar organizations, so it’s encouraging to see the program achieving its objectives. It’s also encouraging to see that the program is contributing to the safety of the Khalifa University community as a whole.”