'Disaster' averted at 32 places

Drills meant to check response of hospitals, emergency services

'Disaster' averted at 32 places

 “Where are the ambulances?” shouted Anjali Diwakar of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) over her wireless, as police and the disaster team officials  scurried to rescue those trapped and injured during an ‘earthquake’ in east Delhi.

Delhi Fire Services vehicles had rushed to douse flames trigged at a petrol pump and CNG filling station at Mayur Vihar.    

The chaos was simulated on Tuesday afternoon as a part of a mock exercise at 32 places in the city to test the response of prominent hospitals and coordination between different government agencies.

Across the city, disasters like earthquake, fires and bomb blast situations were simulated. All government as well as private hospitals participated in the drill along with police officials, fire department and disaster management teams. This was part of the Delhi Emergency Management Exercise.

At Mayur Vihar, an earthquake was announced at 11.50 am and participants acted like patients. A petrol pump and CNG filling station was the drill location. Due to the earthquake a fire had erupted at the petrol pump, and another at the CNG filling station as a gas pipeline burst.  

Real-life police and disaster management teams arrived within four minutes of the earthquake announcement. An ambulance reached at 11.57 am and carried a single victim away. But after that no ambulances were seen at the spot for 20 minutes. It
was police control room and local police vans that were rushing patients to hospital.
 
After half an hour, the station house officer (SHO) of Mayur Vihar police station came to know that there had been a leakage in the gas pipeline and called in fire experts. 

When asked about glitches which showed up during the mock exercise, the sub-divisional magistrate P K Dabbas said, “The drill is to check the co-ordination and efficiency of agencies involved during an emergency. There are slight glitches but overall, the exercise was a success. The exercise is being undertaken to fine tune the emergency medical response system in the city.”

The drill was organised by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority in coordination with the National Disaster Management Authority.

Independent observers will scrutinise the exercise and based on their report, corrective measures will be undertaken.

The onlookers present at different venues believed that the situations were real as the roads leading to the hospital were blocked by police to allow only the ambulances to pass.

“What happened? Heard that an earthquake shook the city. How many people have been killed?” asked Tinku Ram of Ashok Nagar.

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