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Earthquake Drill Preparations Underway

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Initial plans and preparations are underway for an earthquake emergency drill, which is set to take place on November 14.

Last week, the local coordination centre, CECOPAL, was the location where the first working meeting took place in order to start the formal preparations for the drill.

The meeting, chaired by the mayor, José Manuel Dolón, is part of the plan which began some time ago, and included other council departments, such as the councillor for education, Jose Hurtado, as schools will play a large part in the event, as all children will be taught how to react to an emergency, in the hope that a real one never takes place.

The security services were also involved, including the councillor for security, Javier Manzanares, the Local Police, Provincial Fire Department, Proteccion Civil, Department of Health, Agamed, local radio amateurs and others.

During the meeting, a first review of the working documents were presented, and an exchange of opinions was made, all aimed at organising the response at the local level to a serious seismic event.

The denominated #GranSimulacro2018, proposes to activate the Special Plan of the Seismic Risk to evaluate certain resources, capacities and practices of response to a simulated earthquake that will take place on Wednesday 14 November, in Torrevieja, under the direction of the Valencian Security Agency and Emergency Response (AVSRE). Torrevieja, which has a Municipal Territorial Plan (P.T.M.), has also been chosen because it is a municipality with a high seismic risk and history and has a size that allows circumscribing the action to its municipal area.

The simulation aims to help achieve a medium-term municipal objective: the drafting of the Municipal Action Plan against Seismic Risk (PAM-SIS), while the AVSRE has incorporated the proposal made by the City Council into the design of the simulation exercise: where the schools of the municipality are involved. The approach has two main objectives: evacuation to the playground of students and teachers as a measure of self-protection; and the notification after the event to the school community.

The mayor, explained that the council, “is working on the preparation of the drill and, beyond that, the construction of a community more resilient to a severe earthquake. The general objectives of the #GranSimulacro2018 is to include the activation of the response to the emergency at the municipal level and the activation of the self-protection plans in the schools and educational centres,” he said.

During the drill, the ‘Horizontal Communications Procedure’ will be activated and preferential use will be made of the COMDES Radio Network. In addition, the dissemination of the response to the emergency among the population will be exercised. Given the type of event – immediate damage after the earthquake – local practice is considered vital.

The mayor has acknowledged that “the scope of the exercise for the City Council is very ambitious. The AVSRE proposes the council do a complete exercise with the ‘Recognition Groups’ and participate in the rest of the exercises providing human resources, and facilities,” he concluded.

This is not the first time such an exercise has taken place in Torrevieja, and history has already recorded devastation in the area from a real seismic event, and so the importance of this drill being credited with the respect it deserves is paramount.

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