City emergency units including the police, fire personnel and the Belize City Council rushed to the corner of Neal Pen Road and Central American Boulevard this morning around ten o’clock. Two persons were shot and at least three more were involved in a car accident. But it was not real. The entire scene was an emergency simulation organized by the Belize City Council to test City Hall’s emergency response capabilities and that of other city emergency units.
Johnelle Mckenzie: “Shots rang out around 10 o’clock on Neal’s Penn Road extension. Two persons were gunned down, a man a woman. The man died immediately but the woman was still breathing. Police was first on the scene, then a loud bang was heard. Two vehicles collided on Central American Blvd only a few hundred yards away from the shooting victims. An ambulance from the Belize Emergency Response Team arrived and Paramedics attended to the sole survivor of the shooting before taking her away to the Hospital. By now a large crowd of onlookers had gathered. More police arrived on the scene, then a fire truck and two more BERT ambulances showed up as emergency responders worked to free three people who had been trapped inside the wrecked vehicles. Michael Norales is the Councillor responsible for City Emergency Management. He and Councillor Delrtride Hylton were at the lead of today’s exercise.”
Michael Norales Councilor, City Emergency Management: “We have a fatality: two gunshots and one person getting shot but not dying and the other one was fatal. Almost simultaneously we had an accident at the corner of Penn Road and Central American Boulevard so we just wanted to see how well and the resources that would have been expended to be here.”
Johnelle Mckenzie: “Norales says it is an exercise to test their teamwork as well.”
Michael Norales Councilor, City Emergency Management: “Well, the purpose is to see how quickly and how well the agencies that work with us and work in this city could respond to any emergency at any given time. We are here making chronicles of the time that each agency responded after getting a call.”
Johnelle Mckenzie: “In less than an hour after the accident happened, fire personnel and paramedics were all able to remove three injured persons from the wreckage and they were transported to the Hospital.”
Michael Norales Councilor, City Emergency Management: “This being my first experience I would say for the different agencies. They responded as quickly as they could, I would still give them maybe a B + or an A simply because controlling a crowd by the police is very difficult especially for people who have no idea what was going to happen because we also, Councilor Hylton and myself, we had to act as police officers for a while just asking to please don’t do this, don’t do this, don’t come across. As far as I am concerned yes, then the Fire Department, then you have BERT and to me they were here on time.”
Deltride Hylton Public Health and Cemetery: “I can say yes it is and I can say that I am satisfied with it. Even though we have a little flaws in there now and again but we are all human beings and we can’t expect to be perfect but the response time is good. The way they acted when they got out here I cannot complain.”
Johnelle Mckenzie: “ They say the Council also obtained the assistance of the Belize Defense Force today which used explosives to stimulate the loud bang of the collision. This is Johnelle Mckenzie reporting for Love News.
The simulation is also a way of educating the public on disaster and emergency response.