By Kevin Fraser Park •
Published: 23 Oct 2023 • 14:20
Playa del Cristo, Estepona
The Costa del Sol today tested its readiness for major catastrophes with the RespuestA23 simulation exercise. An earthquake will be simulated in Marbella and a major incident in San Roque that will cause a forest fire and a chemical spill.
These exercises have been carried out to test the coordination and response to major emergencies, the checking of response times and the use of the EsAlert or reverse 112 system, which allows, in the event of an emergency, mass messages to be sent to the mobile phones of citizens (in Spanish and English) with recommended action to take for their protection.
In today’s drill the reverse 112 was tested in the Finca de la Trinidad area of Marbella, so that residents and others at that location receive an alert message on their mobile phones indicating that this is a test and that they should not be alarmed or take any action.
The exercise was attended by the Regional Councillor of the Junta de Andalucia, Antonio Sanz who used the occasion to express his support for the families of those affected by the recent storm in Andalucia, while calling for,”prudence and responsibility in favour of safety”.
This drill was predicted to cause an unusual increase in the number of emergency vehicles in the areas where it is being held, which is why Emergencias Andalucía reassured the public not to be alarmed, as it is only a practical exercise and not a real situation.
However, reaction on Facebook among local residents was one of surprise with one resident asking, “Does anyone know why the port has a barrier across the water entrance, why police were everywhere including in the sky and patrolling the water?”
In Estepona too, one local resident spotted, “Something happening on Cristo beach this morning – they’ve been setting up barriers and what looks like first aid station?! Anyone have any ideas?” To which another Facebook user responded, “The hazmat suit guys really made me wonder!” While another summed up the apparent lack of forewarning with a simple, “Eeeerk!”
One anonymous Facebook participant said it reminded him of the ‘Protect and Survive’ videos in the UK during the 70s. “How can they possibly simulate the panic of a real-life earthquake?” he said.
A representative of the Junta said that these exercises allow an evaluation of the mechanisms and protocols currently in place to deal with a serious emergency situation, which, should translate into an improved response capacity in the event of a real emergency.
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Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.
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