Earthquake plan swings into action!

EMERGENCY DRILL: Red cross assess the situation.

SCHOOLS were evacuated, roads closed, alarms were ringing and sirens blaring as every possible emergency service was on hand for Torrevieja’s first earthquake drill.

Although the Vega Baja and Torrevieja have had a plan in place for several years, this is the first time a full scale simulation has taken place and was almost a year in the planning.

At 9.30am an ‘earthquake registering 5.5 on the Richter Scale’ was reported with volunteers making scripted calls to emergency services.

Shortly afterwards the Town Hall declared the emergency as active and put into place the emergency plan, establishing a co-ordination centre at the CdT tourism building.

From there a team followed proceedings and ran the simulation, which saw a number of schools evacuated and mock emergencies set up throughout Torrevieja.

At the Reina Sofia Park Red Cross crews set up medical tents and assisted ‘injuries’, while another tent was set up across the road at the sports centre headed by the Military Emergency Unit (UME).

Fire crews and ambulances were stationed in Avenida Paris for the drill awaiting instructions as they carried out practical exercises, including mock search and rescues and building collapse simulations.

The damp and dreary weather added to the feeling that a natural disaster had actually taken place.  It was assumed there was structural damage and the bridge over the N-332 in to Torrevieja was closed as police carried out diversions.

The earthquake drill was unique in that it used a number of local volunteers to help identify and assess the initial damage caused in various areas, reporting back to the co-ordinators at the CdT.

It aimed to simulate every possible event that could occur if a serious quake was to happen, such as in Lorca in 2011. Torrevieja is located in a seismically active area.

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