By Elmer James Bandol
LEGAZPI CITY, 18June2013 (BicolToday.com) – It could have been a virtual reality, had it not for a “sloppy” reactions and the consciousness as “only drama” of bomb explosion and vehicular accident, staged today at the Central Grand Terminal, here, which rendered one death and a hundred injured mostly students of the Bicol University (BU).
An urban scenario tagged as Mass Casualty Incidents (MCI) presented by BU Emergency Paramedic Training Unit (BU-EPTU) at the heart of the city, should have gauge the quick response of the concerned authorities if these were not made known public before the twin incidents were staged.
“Alam na namin yan, two days ago pa nag padala ng sulat sa amin”, said the two lady guards manning the transport terminal. Even stall holders occupying the place were also informed of what will happen, they just shrugged off their shoulders after they heard the explosions.
According to Garry L. Grageda, BU-EPTU director, the intention of the urban scenarios is to evaluate the capability of the Albay government on how it will manage in the scene, rescuers, transport and the public, including victims in the impact area.
“Para malaman namin kung tama ang ginagawa ng mga rescuers at magkaroon din kami ng idea, as nursing students, kung ano ang nagyayari pag may ganitong sitwasyon” said Karissa R. Gentica, fourth year nursing student of BU.
The first scenario of the MCI was a huge explosion presumed caused by cooking gas leakage in a restaurant which caused fire and as results burn injuries, suffocation caused stampede to about 50 victims, while chaos and traffic congestion among commuters and employees were expected, according to Table Tap paper submitted and discussed at the Office of the Civil Defense two days before the incidents.
Observers said, the first incident supposed to happen at 9:00 AM, failed to give impact to concerned commuters at the terminal because even before it was staged the flow of traffic was rerouted already, which is far different from the plan presented.
The same scenario could measure how the local police and barangay officials of Tinago and Kapantawan would respond to the situation. However, about 20 minutes following the explosion, police arrived seemingly conscious that it was only a drama and despite prior knowledge of the drill Oro Site Barangay Captain Joseph Philip Lee and traffic aides of concerned barangays were present in the area.
Before the first scenario ends, vehicular accident near the explosion area happened whereby the driver died on the spot while 50 victims inside the BU bus and another passenger bus bound for Manila are supposed to be injured including bystanders. Due to the blast, the driver of the passenger bus suffered heart attack causing him to step on the gas accelerator to full throttle which caused the head-on collision, hence, the second scenario was staged.
Paramedics and rescuers who assisted in the first scene were the same personnel who cordoned and secure the area of vehicular accident while staging and triage teams supported in determining the priority victims in giving medical treatment and intervention. Color coded tags were used to determine intervention priority like: yellow for still walking; red for serious and black for dead victims
For both scenarios, air support from Philippine Air Force, was included to airlift serious victims,, however, helicopters were sent instead to assist in the search and rescue of more than 50 passengers of the RORO Boat, Lady of Carmel, that capsized off the coast of Pio Duran that happened earlier not as theater manage.
According to report, in this disaster drill, more than 300 persons were involved wherein personnel and resources of the government, like vehicles and equipment, were utilized while food, drinks and talent fees for participants were financed. [BicolToday.com]