On Wednesday, 14 November, an earthquake will hit the area with its epicentre in Torrevieja. Luckily, it is only a drill, part of continual operations that ensure the emergency services are trained and equipped should such an event occur, as was the case in 1829 when much of the area, including Torrevieja, was destroyed by a major earthquake.
Public buildings, including schools and colleges, will also be taking part in the drill, so that children are also well prepared should anything like this ever occur again.
The local emergency services will be first to attend the scene, closing roads as necessary and implementing the first protocol for such an event, which is of special importance as Torrevieja and the surrounding area is in the centre of a seismic zone.
As the simulation continues, additional support will be called upon, which will include the UME, the military emergency and rescue services, who will also be on hand to assist.
A total of 775 emergency workers will be involved in the scenario, more than ever before, from 25 agencies who will train for the emergency, including municipal groups, consortiums of fire fighters, forest fire fighters, security services, civil protection volunteers, Cruz Roja UME, and students, amongst others.
The 6 secondary schools and the 13 elementary and junior high schools of Torrevieja will be involved, with self-protection activities being practiced by 4,840 students and 452 secondary school teachers; and 7,061 children and 388 nursery and primary school teachers.
The areas which will be hit hardest by the quake will be Colonia San Esteban, Archivo Municipal, Sociedad Cultural Casino de Torrevieja and the Recinto de Ferias y Mercados, with the purpose of putting into practice the damage assessment protocols in buildings and infrastructures, transfer of works of art, and problems with the supply of water, roads, electricity, gas and telephony, as well as the care of people who lose their homes.
For this purpose, a total of 170 “extras” (students of the Leonardo da Vinci Intitutes of Alicante, IES of Elda and Les Alfàbegues de Bétera) will simulate the groups of affected family members, who will be assisted in a temporary shelter camp.
As for the implementation of rescue protocols for people trapped and buried in the rubble, it will be held in a practice field in the town of Algemesí, where one of the neighbourhoods of Torrevieja most affected by the earthquake will be simulated.
If you see any of this activity, like in a real emergency, remain calm, listen to the instructions given by those in authority, and act on their instructions immediately. Although this is a simulation, the necessity for acting as if it is a real emergency is crucial, therefore, please avoid standing around and just watching, if you are not told to leave the area, just move on as normal and let the emergency services do their job.
Similarly, the roads around the area may be affected by closures and emergency diversions. Again, take notice and act on the instructions given, leaving the area immediately if told to do so, and, if you are not planning to be in the area as normal, please avoid the area. If you see emergency service vehicles approaching, try to make a clear path for them to proceed, if you can do so safely.
If you do want to follow the activities, rather than standing around and getting in the way, there is a hashtag set up for social media, so you can monitor pictures and videos from home as the emergency unfolds. Just follow #gransimularco2018 to do this.