Practical guide for this afternoon's chemical accident drill
The day we have been waiting for so long has arrived. Almost three years after the Iqoxe explosion, today, we Tarragona will be able to put into practice what we should do and how we should act in the event that an incident like that of that fateful January 14, 2020, were repeated. We will do so thanks to a chemical accident drill, led by Civil Protection, and which will affect, above all, the residents of the Ponent neighborhoods in Tarragona, La Canonja, La Pineda and Vila-seca, Salou and Reus.
The celebration of this drill is a historic neighborhood claim, taking into account that the city is surrounded by two large petrochemical estates. After the Iqoxe incident, citizens cried out for better communication and a clear explanation of how to act in these cases.
The test will start at six in the afternoon and at 6:30 p.m. the sirens will sound. It will be then when the people who are within the zone of influence will receive an alert on their mobile phone. It is a system that will be released for the first time in Tarragona. This article is intended as a practical guide for the more than 65,000 citizens called to confine themselves when they hear the sirens.
The hypothesis of the incident that will take place this afternoon will be a chlorine leak in a company in the southern petrochemical estate. The incident will have a radius of affectation of three kilometers, which means that the citizens called to participate in the test will be those who are within this area, highlighting the neighborhoods of Bonavista, Campclar and Torreforta.
As explained by Civil Protection, the hypothesis with which they work is the most likely to occur in the event of a chemical accident.
At half past six in the afternoon, twenty of the 45 sirens will sound, those in the area of incidence of the false incident. In Tarragona city ten will be heard: two in Bonavista –public school and CAP–, another two in Campclar –in FECSA and in the Center for Occupational Safety and Health–, one in the Entrevies industrial estate, two more in Torreforta –Parc de Bombers and municipal soccer field–, one at the Universitat Laboral, another at the PP10 and, finally, the last one at Les Gavarres. Two more sirens will also sound in the municipality of La Canonja –in the Town Hall and in the public school–, six in Vila-seca –four in the urban center and two in La Pineda– and two in Salou –in the Cova Mar and Lookout-. Finally, the notice will be heard in a small part of the Reus industrial estate.
To know when the drill begins, three one-minute signals will sound, separated by five-second silences. The sound of sirens may not be heard from inside a building, as they are intended to warn people outside.
At the same time, the population that is in the affected areas at the time of the events will receive a mobile alert, warning of the drill. This is the Cell Broadcasting system – baptized in the State as ES Alert – for warning telephones. It will be the first time that it is populated in Catalonia, since the system depends on the central government.
The sirens will activate the Plaseqta. The mission is clear: confine yourself. Either at home or in the nearest building or business premises, in case the person is on the street. The next step is to close the doors and windows well, turn off the air conditioners –so as not to exchange air with the outside–, and not go, under any circumstances, to pick up the children from school or extracurricular activities. Evacuating or staying inside the car is not a good option.
One of the objectives of carrying out the drill in the afternoon is to see how they react, both some businesses and extracurricular activities. Civil Protection acknowledges that it does not know what percentage of the population will react positively to the test, although they trust that shops and restaurants will lower their blinds. In fact, some large companies, such as PortAventura or some petrochemical companies, have committed to activating the self-protection plan and simulating confinement. There will also be complicity on the part of supermarket chains and small neighborhood business establishments.
On the other hand, Civil Protection recommends that those who are on public transport during the drill get out of the vehicle and try to take refuge in a building.
During confinement, Civil Protection recommends informing yourself through official channels, and the usual means of communication, in addition to social networks.
It is important not to lose confidence until the authorities communicate it or until the end of alert signal is heard. The end of the drill will be announced with a continuous signal lasting 30 seconds.
From Civil Protection they ask all the population and companies that have participated in this afternoon's drill to carry out an online survey, which will allow the test to be assessed, detailing how those affected have acted, in addition to detecting any error or lack. It is a survey in QR format, simple and quick to answer, which can be found at website interior.gencat.catin the drill section.
How to configure the mobile to receive the notice of the drill?
When the alarms sound, the people who are within the area of influence must receive an alert on their mobile phone. This is the ES Alert system, which is managed by the State and will be launched today for the first time in Catalonia. In some cases, to receive the notification -it is not the typical SMS- it will be necessary to configure the device.
Mobile phones that have the reception of emergency notification messages activated by default are Android phones with software version 11 or higher, and iOS phones with software version 15.6 or higher –from Iphone 8–.
In the case of Android, they do not allow you to disable the reception of these alerts, and in the case of iOs, they do allow it, although it is recommended not to do so.
If, on the other hand, your mobile does not have emergency notifications activated by default, each telephone brand has its own way of doing it. For this reason, Civil Protection advises accessing the website 'interior.gencat.cat' to find out how to configure the option.