The Home Front Command held a nationwide earthquake drill
Sunday, as part of its annual emergency drill, "Turning Point 6."
The drill, which is the first of its kind in Israel,
will simulate several strong earthquakes, ranging 5.0-7.0 in magnitude, in northern and southern Israel, as well as aftershocks. Additional disaster scenarios include a tsunami warning and a subsequent flood.
The drill is supervised by the Home Front Defense Ministry. As part of the exercise, the Home Front Command will alert the public of a "national disaster situation" via television and radio broadcasts.
The alerts were broadcast on Israel Radio and Army Radio, as well as on channels 1, 2, 10, 9 and 23.
The drill also saw the Home Front Command
use its SMS alert system, which is supposed to send residents of the affected areas text messages
alerting them to the situation and providing further instructions.
Magen David Adom emergency services tested their new internal alert system as well, which is meant to alert all emergency personnel – paramedics, EMTs and doctors – of a nationwide emergency.
Rescue drill (Photo: Yaron Brener)
The Home Front Command's earthquake directives are as follows:
- If possible, get out of buildings and closed areas immediately.
- If you are unable to get outside and the space includes a fortified room, go there but keep the door open.
- If the space does not include a fortified room, go to the stairwell.
- If you are outside, stay outside and try to get as far away as possible from any building or power lines.
- If you are in a car, stop driving and remain in the car. Avoid stopping near bridges or overpasses.
Dozens of cities took take part in the drill. The military used a lot in Holon – a large city in central Israel – to simulate the collapse of a building as a result of the quake and the subsequent mass-casualty event.
A second drill was held at 7 pm as Israelis were alerted of an earthquake via their TV screens and radio devices.
IDF chief of Staff Benny Gantz visited the site of a simulated school collapse in Holon. "The IDF's emergency readiness is also applicable to war scenarios, not just natural disasters. Cooperation between the various bodies is critical.
"The IDF prioritizes the frontline, which requires swift action and in order for that to happen we need a strong home front. That is why we are also investing resources in the home front."
Netanyahu, Gantz and Barak in Holon (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)
Over the next few days the Home Front Command will hold several mass-casualty event drills in various cities nationwide.
Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said that, "The last time we had a major earthquake was in 1927. This 80-year gap has put us in a disadvantage, according to experts.
"We can't prevent an earthquake from happening, so our goal is to stop a disaster from turning into a catastrophe."
Police Operations Directorate Commander Nisim Mor told Ynet that the preparations for the complex, multi-disciplinary drill have been taking place since the beginning of the year.
Thousands of police officers, soldiers and Border Guard officers took part in the exercise, which also simulated the destruction of roads and infrastructure.
PM Netanyahu, Minister Dichter at the drill (Photo: GPO)
"Experience worldwide has shown that time, especially the first few days, are critical in such cases," he said.
"We know that there will be a problem deploying forces and that the point of the exercise is to drill how we can overcome a chaotic situation."
The drill, he added, is focused on earthquakes and natural disasters, but "The lessons learned are sure to be very useful in cases of an attack on the home front."
According to the Home Front Defense Ministry's national disaster steering committee data, a 7.0-magnitude quake may result in as many as 7,000 fatalities, 8,500 serious casualties, 37,000 mild casualties and 9,500 people who may find themselves trapped in collapsed buildings.
The ministry said as many as 170,000 people could be displaced, 28,000 buildings are expected to sustain severe damage, 29,000 building will suffer mediocre damage and hundreds of thousands of other structures will suffer light damage.
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