OK so for those who haven't heard recently there have been drills across the UK to test how the emergency services would prepare for an earthquake.
That's right an earthquake. Perhaps this is the UK government freaking out as a result of the Christchurch quake, which took place in an area far
from any major fault lines. Or maybe they are using the earthquake as a guise to prepare in secret for something much more sinister.
When I first heard about these drills I certainly thought it was strange but it gets weirder yet and I am going somewhere with this. Here is a section
of the story from the telegraph article;
Britain endures its fair share of elemental hardships: floods, storms, and even the occasional tornado. It is not, however, known for its high risk
of catastrophic earthquakes.
But that did not stop police officers undertaking a three-day course training them to deal with a devastating tremor.
Officers from four British forces participated in the £826,000 exercise that simulated the consequences from a tremor measuring eight on the
Richter scale hitting the country – something that has never happened and probably never will.
The teams were called in to work with European and Middle Eastern officials for the “extremely unlikely” crisis.
In the middle of the largest financial crisis the country and indeed the world has faced in a long time £826, 000 is a lot to spend on a drill for a
disaster which might never happen. Perhaps this is seen as a long term investment as the unpreparedness should such an event occur could result in
even greater financial tribulations. But this will be hard to reconcile with people who have lost their jobs, or those who are facing the chop due to
the new budget cuts.
However something struck me as particularly odd about one section of the article;
Other mock earthquake scenes, involving hundreds of fire fighters, ambulance crews and a fleet of helicopters were held in Hertfordshire,
Gloucestershire and Merseyside.
In Merseyside the mock exercise involved creating an “urban street scene” complete with burning buildings, trapped “victims” and 40 smashed
This would be a scene not uncommon during an earthquake for sure, and maybe a very useful exercise should one occur. So perhaps I am just being my
typical paranoid self... Why Merseyside though?...
Then of course we have the recent comments suggesting that Britain, and in particular London is overdue a massive earthquake...Well one about 6 on the
Richter scale, so massive for the UK. Which would apparently cause widespread damage to older structures.
Dr Roger Musson, of the British Geological Survey, is basing his prediction on historical records that show the repetition of a quake emanating
from the Dover Straits in the English Channel.
So maybe it's this guy's comments, Dr. Roger Musson, that everyone is getting so worked up about. Although he does state that it is incredibly
unlikely and may not take place for several decades. So it seems illogical to me, to spend such a large amount of money on such drills, and also time
and effort taken away from police and fire fighter's daily duties. Considering the event may not occur for ten years or more, if ever.
After a few days I put such paranoid thoughts out of my mind as per usual, and the day to day monotonous struggles of life got in the way distracting
me from the issue.
That was until earlier this evening, when they were brought roaring back to the forefront of my consciousness after an email my other half received.
After politely allowing my missus to use my laptop after I had finished perusing the boards on ATS hungry for knowledge. She opened her email as I
went to make some tea, and as I stood there alternating dunks in each cup, she called from the living room "oh this looks kind of cool." So I left
the tea stewing and went for a look at this interesting email.
I have copy and pasted the following for you to ponder. I have omitted obviously anything that may make her identifiable.
Have you ever wondered how the emergency services plan for an emergency? How you ever wanted to take part in a major civil protection exercise?
Well now is your chance!
On Sunday 3rd October 2010, the local emergency services and their multi agency partners (i.e. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Merseyside
Police, North West Ambulance Service, Liverpool City Council etc) will be running a major multi-agency exercise - and you can be involved. The
exercise will give you a valuable insight into how the civil protection is delivered, as well as a providing a unique experience.
The exercise planners are looking for 200 volunteers to play the role of cruise ship passengers who have become contaminated as the result of
incident at the Liverpool Cruise Liner Terminal. The exercise will be testing, amongst other things, the effectiveness of the decontamination process
and the subsequent delivery of humanitarian assistance.
The exercise will attempt to be as realistic as possible; during the decontamination process there will be a requirement to dress down to swim wear
(or shorts and a tee shirt) and you will need spare warm clothing.
Although timings have yet to be confirmed, the event is likely to start mid -morning and last for approx 3hrs. Refreshments will be provided on the
day. Full joining details are to be confirmed.
A certificate of attendance will be provided for all students.
The contaminant that the drill will be testing for is not mentioned. I find it highly unlikely it would be biological, but maybe it is something as
simple as a E Coli outbreak on board. However I have since dismissed this notion, as the email does state that the drill will take place at the
terminal. As in the dock on land, not at sea, or even on board the ship. For those who aren't familiar with Liverpool, the cruise liner terminal is
right beside Liverpool's CBD, and the largest tourist destination in Merseyside. It also states there will be a process of decontamination. Unless
they are suggesting there will be lots of sick and diarrhea around to clean up, I can only imagine this means hosing people down to remove chemicals
or radiological material, by folks in Hazmat suits.
So you might be thinking that this is just a standard drill they happen all the time. This is true they do happen quite regularly, however when I
cross checked the council training drills in the area on the Liverpool government website, it appears that the last round of Civil Contingency drills
finished in June 2010. With a full public consultation beginning in the Autumn of 2010, as in now.
This current drill has not yet been added to the site which suggest it is a fairly new addition. I have also since verified the email source to be the
Liverpool government website i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am paranoid that is definitely a given, I will not argue with anyone about that. But I am also not someone for predictions, that's not what I
wanted to do here. I just want reassurance that I may be just plane ole crazy, and there is nothing to worry about. Because at the minute I can't
help but have a bad feeling about this.
Rest assured I will be present for the drill on October 3rd and I will even take a few pics to post up. Only by experiencing it first hand can I truly
know what the preparation is for. If anyone else received this email I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter too. It would most likely be
sent to medicine students or those planning to work in the NHS.