A strong earthquake occurs in Tenerife at 02:15 hours, which causes numerous earthquakes throughout the island and a tsunami in the South, accompanied by the eruption of Teide, which causes the lava to escape by some volcanic cones. In this case, a level 2 emergency is determined and all the state bodies are activated, together with the units of the Autonomous Community to deal with this situation.
STAY CALM, this is just an exercise programmed by the Unidad de Emergencias del Ejército (UME) from their headquarters at Los Rodeos to test the canine teams transferred to them from Gran Canaria and El Hierro. These include 4 dogs, Junco, Juba, Coco and Nik, the latter specialising in locating corpses and who performed outstandingly when the building in Los Cristianos collapsed.
The simulation is as accurate as possible – the chosen scenario is an old abandoned cement factory in Las Chafiras where because of the earthquake, the main building collapsed. This area is only accessible in specific places. The security personnel that night are Jaime González Pérez, aged 50 and Pedro Luis Martin, aged 38. It is known that the wife of Jaime González used to pay him a visit when he was on duty at night to bring his dinner. She has tried to be contacted at home but without success.
The locations chosen for the operation were the former La Mina Barracks, Las Raíces, El Porís Military Barracks, a former Chimiche factory, and a boat in Costa del Silencio. Each exercise had a search time of 90 minutes to find two people alive (played by extras) and two corpses, for which the UME used pieces of pork hidden in hollows. The remains of this animal is similar to the smell that humans give off. The dogs bark loudly and don´t leave the place to indicate they have found something. Participating in the exercise were a total of 24 dogs including German Shepherds, Belgian Shepherds, some Border Collies, as well as a Labradors.
During this exercise, the dogs found the survivors in a short period of time and the ‘alleged corpses’ took a little longer, but in both cases were within the established timescale.
We are fortunate in the Canaries to have a unit as qualified as the UME.