Mock Drill Exercise Tests Government Agencies' Response


Friday December 7, 2012

By Edmund Ngo
Photo by Ronnie Chin

As real as could be: Firemen, wearing oxygen masks to shield themselves from the pulverised fuel ash, rescuing the “injured” passengers at the wreckage.


A BLACK Suzuki Swift with four people “crashed” into the back of a tanker carrying pulverised fuel ash along the Ipoh-Sungai Siput Road in Kanthan, causing some of the waste product to spill onto the road.


In just 12 minutes, three motorcycles and a fire engine from the Fire and Rescue Department arrived at the scene, followed by a hazardous material truck and ambulance.


The four victims were “seriously injured” while the drier’s scalp was partially ripped off.


The sight of the wreckage and firemen attempting to free the victims, shocked passers-by but they were greatly relieved when told it was merely a mock drill.


The exercise was conducted by Lafarge Malaysia and various government agencies.


Lafarge Malaysia supply chain vice-president Paul Yap said the 45-minute drill had taken three months to plan to ensure it was as close as possible to a real-life situation.


“The drill was aimed at seeing how the various agencies would respond so that we could all find ways to improve our level of preparedness.


“A post-mortem and feedback session will be conducted after this to look into what had been done.


“A total of 14 government agencies had participated in the drill and I believe it was successful because even I received calls from people who genuinely thought the accident was real,” he said.


Yap said a number of observers had kept tabs on the time taken, as well as the participants’ movements and good practices during the drill.


Lafarge Malaysia health and safety vice-president Ian Pughsley said emergency response was a very important factor in the company’s health and safety procedures.


“As much as we try to prevent accidents, we still need to be prepared when they occur, which is why we encourage mock drills in all aspects of the company including the supply chain.


“The benefit of it is that it allows everyone to practise and learn from the situation,” he said.