The scene of the emergency exercise in Palma today.


The Majorcan emergency services were today involved in a major training exercise at the Son Ferran sports centre.

The training exercise was a routine one to make sure that all of the emergency services know how to respond to a catastrophe involving a large number of people, such as a multiple traffic accident, a plane crash, an incident at a major public event such as a rock concert, a large-scale natural disaster or a terrorist attack. The exercise had been planned long before the terrorist attacks in Paris last week.

The skills tested  are not only used here in the Balearics and Spain but also overseas. For example, the Guardia Civil have been involved in a number of major incidents across the world since 1992 from Haiti to Afghanistan (on numerous occasions), Bosnia, Iraq, Lebanon, Kosovo, Melilla and, of course, the terrorist attacks in Madrid ten years ago and Madrid airport in 2008.

All the security and emergency services were involved in yesterday’s exercise, the Guardia Civil, local and National police, medical services and fire brigades, and it was monitored by their various commanders and superiors. But the main objective was to make sure that all the relevant departments are capable of identifying bodies as quickly as possible in the event of a major catastrophe.

So, the security and emergency services were also joined by forensic scientists from across the Balearics. DNA tests were carried out at the scene in the various mobile Guardia Civi and National Police vehicles, special tents were set up for immediate autopsies and the use of other identification apparatus while a special room was set aside for the families and friends of victims, which was staffed by a team of psychologists.

Since Friday night’s attacks in Paris, military installations have doubled their systems of control and vigilance, while the National Police, Guardia Civil and local police forces in the Balearics have been alerted to the need to increase security measures and to take precautions. Among measures being taken by the security forces are a considerable increase in selective controls at the Balearics’ three airports. Police presence has also been stepped up at the ports and in all commercial centres where there are high numbers of members of the public. Plainclothes armed police are also to be deployed at sporting and festive events, while power stations in Palma are locations subject to special vigilance on behalf of the National Police.

Palma’s local police are also actively engaged in the anti-terrorist plan. They are involved with watching municipal installations such as Emaya’s water pipeline, the town hall building and police stations. Since the activation of level four risk, the police are always armed, operate in pairs and make regular rounds of municipal buildings and centres for public facilities.


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