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Emergency responders to the rescue in St. Anthony mock accident

ST. ANTHONY, NL — 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.

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