Emer­gency re­spon­ders to the res­cue in mock ac­ci­dent

Northern Pen - - EDITORIAL - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS THE NORTH­ERN PEN ST. AN­THONY, NL

The line crew cut the power lines from the util­ity pole that landed on the ve­hi­cle dur­ing the Mock Ac­ci­dent Emer­gency Re­sponse on May 12.

Emer­gency re­spon­ders in the St. An­thony area demon­strated their pre­pared­ness for emer­gency sit­u­a­tions with a sim­u­la­tion on Fri­day morn­ing.

Held at New­found­land and Labrador Hy­dro in St. An­thony on May 12, the Mock Ac­ci­dent Emer­gency Re­sponse went off well with all lo­cal groups in­volved ful­fill­ing their du­ties in the sce­nario.

In the sim­u­la­tion’s nar­ra­tive, a child had in­ad­ver­tently run out into the road af­ter a ball. A pass­ing car swerved to avoid the child and col­lided with a util­ity pole. The pole crashed onto the ve­hi­cle, trap­ping the two pas­sen­gers in­side.

None of this ac­tu­ally oc­curred, but it was the nar­ra­tive those par­tic­i­pat­ing used.

The energy from the power line caused the ve­hi­cle to catch afire. That’s where New­found­land and Labrador Hy­dro work­ers, fire­fight­ers, po­lice of­fi­cers and emer­gency re­spon­ders ar­rived on scene.

But first there was a fire drill to test the quick­ness of the team in evac­u­at­ing each build­ing for emer­gency pur­poses.

When they got on the scene, each group had to ful­fil their dif­fer­ent roles in the res­cue op­er­a­tion.

The line crew from NL Hy­dro were present to en­sure the power source was dis­con­nected from the util­ity pole. When the lines were de-en­er­gized, the fire de­part­ment came in to en­sure the fire was sup­pressed. Hy­dro work­ers then re­moved the hy­dro pole from the ve­hi­cle, al­low­ing the fire de­part­ment to use the Jaws of Life to open up the ve­hi­cle for the emer­gency re­spon­ders to re­trieve the ca­su­al­ties from the ve­hi­cle.

The po­lice han­dle traf­fic control and con­duct an ac­ci­dent scene in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter­wards.

The ca­su­al­ties in the ve­hi­cle were man­nequins, while the smoke in­side the car was gen­er­ated ar­ti­fi­cially. There was no ac­tual fire or peo­ple within the ve­hi­cle.

Wood­ward’s pro­vided the car for the sim­u­la­tion and all the flu­ids and the bat­tery were re­moved from the ve­hi­cle.

All mea­sures such as these were taken ahead of time to en­sure the safety of the par­tic­i­pants.

De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works em­ploy­ees were also present to help with sig­nage and to help po­lice man­age the ac­tual road traf­fic pass­ing by the scene.

Occupational Health and Safety and En­vi­ron­ment ad­vi­sor for Trans­mis­sion Ru­ral Op­er­a­tions North­ern New­found­land Glenn Can­ning, main­te­nance worker Jim Decker, and Ted Smith co­or­di­nated the sim­u­la­tion.

“The whole pur­pose is to col­lec­tively see how dif­fer­ent groups re­act to­gether in emer­gency re­sponse sit­u­a­tions,” said Can­ning. “We’re go­ing to see how our emer­gency plan rally works, what our re­sponse is like.”

Be­fore the sim­u­la­tion took place, Can­ning said they were guar­an­teed to find great ef­fi­cien­cies and strengths but there was also the po­ten­tial for some weak­nesses and gaps. They were hop­ing to iden­tify those po­ten­tial gaps and learn from those er­rors for the fu­ture.

“It’s a learn­ing curve for all par­ties in­volved,” he added. “It’s to val­i­date the ef­fec­tive­ness and ef­fi­ciency of emer­gency re­sponse.”

The mock ac­ci­dent was held as part of Occupational Health and Safety Week and Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Week. Can­ning says they in­tend to make the train­ing sim­u­la­tion an an­nual event go­ing for­ward.

Paramedics and fire­fight­ers strap one of the man­nequins on a gur­ney af­ter res­cu­ing it from the ve­hi­cle.

A fire­fighter sup­presses the fire within the car.

The line crew pull the util­ity poll off of the car.

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