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‘Blasts’ rock Secunderabad station

Mock drill conducted to test preparedness of rescue, relief teams

— Photo: Mohd. Yousuf

AWARENESS DRIVE: ‘Injured’ victims being treated by doctors and paramedics at the mock drill conducted at Secunderabad railway station on Wednesday.

HYDERABAD: The deafening sound of the blast tore into the air, emitting odourless smoke in its wake. Passengers and bystanders screamed their lungs out, stunned by the booming sound of the blast. In the midst of thick smoke, passengers started to fall like nine pins. Some writhing in pain, some crying out for loved ones and some were just unconscious.

One passenger was flailing with head wounds while another one had lost his limb. A woman lay charred and lifeless. Potentially, the setting could rival any real time blast scenario.

The difference, however, was this blast at the Secunderabad Railway Station on Wednesday was triggered in a controlled environment. And, volunteers, with full make-up to resemble the injured, were acting like passengers.

With pinpoint precision, the relief and rescue work followed. First came the Railway Protection Force personnel followed by 108 emergency service workers, doctors, paramedics, dog and bomb squads, fire men, chemical and explosive analysts, CISF, Indian Red Cross and ambulances, wheeled right into the platform.

“We chose not to alert ambulances beforehand to find out how long they took to reach the station in emergency. It was a satisfactory response,” said district Collector Naveen Mittal. The general public and real passengers solemnly watched the proceedings.

The first two dummy bombs were set off at 1.30 p.m. at platforms six and seven, and within an hour, severely injured and maimed ‘acting’ victims were taken to Gandhi and Yashoda Hospitals. Two more dummy bombs, one at platform one and the other in parking area, were triggered within half-an-hour of the first blasts.

‘A lesson’

“It’s a lesson for us on how to react in such situations. Such drills should be taken up frequently to make people aware of responsibilities,” said T. Satish, MMTS passenger on his way to Gachibowli.

Thanks to the alerts in the public address system, passengers maintained discipline, lest they hindered the relief and rescue work

“I felt we should have more mega phones to communicate. We will conduct such drills in hospitals too,” said member of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Marri Shashidhar Reddy.

NDMA member J.R. Bharadwaj and several top officials from various departments participated in the mock drill.

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