The Generalitat coordinates 20 organisations in the largest multi-emergency simulation for chemical risk practiced in the Valencian Community

November 23, 2022
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The Valencian Agency for Security and Emergency Response of the Generalitat Valenciana (AVSRE) has carried out a large multi-emergency drill for chemical and radiological risk that has tested the response capacity of 20 organisations.

The exercise, which has led to the mobilization of 250 troops for four hours, has been carried out in four simultaneous scenarios in the Almussafes industrial area, a stress test that is carried out as the last phase of the implementation process of the Areas Emergency Plan Industry of the municipality.

The drill, which recreates a multi-scenario emergency, began with a leak in one of the 2,000 m3 methanol tanks of a chemical company, which activated its internal emergency plan, evacuated staff and notified the Coordination Centre of Emergencies of the Generalitat.

After the notice, 1·1·2 has mobilized the firefighters of the Valencia Consortium. The combustion of methanol has generated a toxic cloud and a very virulent fire, for which reason the Consortium and the CCE have requested the mobilisation of the UME, which has worked together with the endowments of the Valencia Fire Department Consortium and canine units in the area to the rescue of the trapped.

At the same time, in a neighboring factory, there has been a leak in a 20,000 liter sulfuric acid tank and the company has activated its self-protection plan. Due to the simultaneous occurrence of both emergencies, resources have been mobilized from the UME, the Valencia Provincial Fire Brigade Consortium and the Valencia City Council Municipal Service to work together to contain the spill and stop the leak. After the intervention, it was necessary to decontaminate those involved in the incident.

As a third scenario, and always simultaneously, in the vicinity of the Industrial Area (Henry Ford Avenue) there has been a bush fire, which has forced the mobilization of the Generalitat Fire Service and Forest Fire Department (SGISE) and Provincial Forestry Brigades. Lastly, on road 5 of the Industrial Area, an accident involving dangerous goods took place.

As a result of the accident, the driver and the co-driver have been injured and it has been necessary to carry out the rescue by the Valencia Fire Department and the health care by the Ministry of Universal Health and Public Health.

In the accident, a package was deposited on the road as a result of the breakage of the moorings to the vehicle platform. Although the package has not been opened, nor has its content leaked to the outside, dents can be seen. A support vehicle equipped with radiation detectors has been monitoring the expedition. As it is a radiological environment, a dosimetric control of all the personnel on duty has been carried out. Specialized personnel from the National Security Council and the AVSRE have participated in this scenario.

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Inter-agency coordination

The regional secretary for Security and Emergencies, José María Ángel, highlighted that "multi-emergency drills like today's allow us to identify what to do and how to act in the event of an emergency, by simulating extreme scenarios that test our ability to anticipate and if the elaborate planning that we have applied for each situation is efficient.”

José María Ángel recalled that there are more than 20 organizations that have participated in this simulation of multiple scenarios: from the Ministry of Justice, Public Administration and Interior, the Ministry of Health and Public Health, through the Government Delegation, firefighters from the Consortium of Valencia and the City Council of Valencia, the Civil Guard, the UME, the Army, the Nuclear Safety Council, the Association of Entrepreneurs of Parks and Industrial Estates, the Society for Comprehensive Management of Emergency Services (SGISE), the Almussafes Town Halls , Silla, Sollana and Picassent.

In this line, the person in charge of Emergencies has explained that in these scenarios "it is essential" the coordination of the different services that participate in the resolution of an emergency. “With these tests we prepare so that the Prevention, Fire Fighting and Rescue Services that must intervene in an emergency in the Industrial Area are aware of the existing risks. But it is also vital that those responsible for the industries that carry out their activity are aware of the risks in their environment and adapt their Self-protection Plans to them”.

The regional secretary added that in these circumstances it is also essential to communicate the emergency among all the industries in the area and to adopt protection measures for the population of the affected area”.

For this reason, Ángel explained, "today the warning systems provided for in the different plans have been put to the test, since it is necessary for both managers and employees of the companies to become familiar with the sound of the different acoustic signals and their corresponding meaning that can range from confinement".