It begins with a train derailment, and then the situation gets worse. Train wagons of fuel begin to burn, the fire spreading to pressurised tanks of liquefied gas until one of them explodes violently, even as a passenger train is stopped nearby. Secondary fires reach wagons of hazardous chemicals giving rise to toxic and corrosive fumes that emanate past nearby houses. Casualties are being poisoned as well as seriously burned The EURATECH 2005 exercise is occurring between 10 and 14 April at the town of Portes-ls-Valence in the French department of Drme. Its name is short for 'European Technological Accident '. A large number of different French groups are participating in EURATECH, including the town and prefecture authorities, railway operator SNCF, local and regional fire services, the police and National Gendarmerie, the Ministry of the Interior and the French Army.
The exercise scenario has been designed to be sufficiently serious to justify activation of the European mechanism of mutual cooperation in civil protection. So additional rescue teams will be mobilised from Belgium, Germany and Italy, coordinated by the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) in Brussels, which has been providing active assistance during disasters for the last three years.
Within France the emergency response will be coordinated from the Interior Ministry's COGIC centre (centre oprationnel de gestion interministrielle des crises) in Asnires near Paris.
It is from COGIC that the request for the activation of the Charter on Space and Major Disasters is made. The request is passed to the on duty engineer at
Contact: Simonetta Cheli
European Space Agency