Sofia: Fire and evacuation drill at NDK hampers traffic

Written by on January 5, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Sofia: Fire and evacuation drill at NDK hampers traffic

Contrary to government announcements, according to which Sofia residents would only have to endure additional traffic flow problems while VIP guests would be driven from Sofia Airport to their hotels or conference venues, there were temporary obstacles on Thursday night.

Five days into Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, shortly after 9pm last night, the Sofia Directorate of the Interior started a fire and evacuation drill at the National Palace of Culture (NDK), which is one of the main venues reserved for conferences and high level meetings during the Presidency.

The drill included medical staff, the fire brigade, police teams and specialists for a variety of possible threats, including a counter-terrorism team. Bulgarian National Television quoted Anton Zlatanov, the Deputy Director of the Sofia Directorate of Internal Affairs. He said the evacuation of delegates to their cars was rehearsed. A fire and a “forgotten package” had triggered the alerts during the drill.

Bulgarian delegates were trained for emergency situations and threats even before. The same applies to the staff of the National Palace of Culture.

The security measures for the coming six months and beyond also included the installation of hundreds of new CCTV cameras in Sofia, especially along the transport routes for EU officials, in the metro and at the NDK itself.

Traffic in the centre of Sofia was obstructed due to the drill on Thursday night, but also because of protests against an extension of the Bansko skiing resort. The police apologised to residents for any inconvenience caused by the drill.

Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com