Photos: Adeje Ayuntamiento.
Updated 22 June: This morning’s major emergency simulation in La Caleta thankfully went off with only a metaphorical bang, but it could have been real, and that is why the emergency services were carrying out the exercise to deal with a supposed non-toxic propane gas leak. The co-ordination of the different services was praised by Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga who stressed that the actual possibility of a risk of this nature was extremely small, but that it was always better to be properly prepared.
“We are very pleased at the level of co-ordination we have seen today”, he said. “The presence of gas is new to the region, and an event of this kind, though extremely remote, needs to be anticipated with 14 kilometres of propane gas pipes (non-toxic) present. We need to know how we would react in a risk situation, testing and verifying the measures in place, and improving them where we need to.”
Shortly after 10.30am the sirens of the fire brigades were heard from a distance rushing to deal with the 112 emergency call which marked the start of the exercise. Local police were on hand to close the roads and divert traffic away from the reported gas leak, the national police were co-ordinating their response, the civil protection unit advised members of the public, residents and tourists, and the ambulance service was on hand to attend to the only ‘victim’ of the gas leak. Also present were members of CECOPAL, the Adeje emergency co-ordination group who oversee risk situations at municipal level.
Visitors watched the well-co-ordinated affair with interest, with many praising the work of the services and the initiative itself. The Ayuntamiento had posted notices in Spanish and English all around the La Caleta area to avoid unnecessary panic, and the advance preparation included the co-operation of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel, which was directly in front of the supposed gas leak: the hotel played a full part in ensuring their staff and guests were kept up to date on developments with fire fighters in and near the hotel grounds during the simulation. All the other hotels in La Caleta were also fully supportive of the initiative.
The scenario for the “emergency” was that a digger had inadvertently ruptured a distribution pipe for the DISA gas suppliers. Company spokesman Francisco Plato, who was present at the event, said “we are talking about a situation that is highly unlikely but it has been a very useful exercise in testing the lines of communication and co-ordination between the different teams that would be called into service during an emergency situation of this kind”.
Since such an exercise could be needed to deal with any type of emergency, from a gas leak as imagined today to a chemical spill, or a major fire or terrorist incident, the whole thing was professional, highly impressive, and very reassuring to see. Adeje communications officer and English Time blogger and radio host Clio O’Flynn and I were talking at the scene today: our chat was recorded and she’ll be broadcasting it tomorrow on her Radio Sur Adeje show at 1pm – you can listen online HERE or HERE.
Original post 17 June: Adeje Ayuntamiento has announced that it will be carrying out a security exercise simulating a major gas leak next Wednesday, 22 June, for around two hours from 10.30am. It will take place in the general La Caleta area near the H10 hotel and the desalination plant. All the main security areas will be involved, including bomberos, ambulances, and both local and national police forces.
The public is therefore likely to see fire engines, ambulances, and police vehicles, all acting out their roles, which will include closing some roads. Public transport, taxis and traffic to the airport will not be affected because there will be a serious attempt to keep the interruption to a minimum. Given the importance of such exercises, however, the mayor hopes that the public will understand and accept the council’s apologies for any inconvenience caused.
It goes without saying that this is a simulation being carried out for training purposes and does not involve any reason at all for the public to be concerned.