A civil defence exercise, named RICHTER, was held jointly Wednesday in Monaco and in the Alpes-Maritimes to evaluate the response capabilities of the two countries’ Crisis Management centres, led on the Monaco side by the Department of the Interior. The exercise required no field engagement in terms of personnel or equipment and, in Monaco, only the National Crisis Management Centre (CNGC) was activated.
The Department of Animation (DIRANIM), based at the Prefecture in the Alpes-Maritimes, was responsible to detail the progress of a disaster, in this case a major earthquake, and follow the actions implemented by the CNGC’s different cells in responding to the crisis.
Speaking to the Monaco press afterward,Interior Minister, Patrice Cellario, reiterated that the exercise was “testing procedures in place to manage the phenomena of crisis and coordinate the Monegasque and French services”. He added, “The outcome of the day’s exercise was very positive. The teams really mobilised, communication worked well internally and with the French services, and the different cells showed they know how to handle a crisis situation.”
Monaco Life asked the Minister whether the government has a specific mechanism in place during an emergency to communicate with the 100 nationalities living in Monaco, many of whom do not speak French, despite it being Monaco’s first language. “There are two things to remember about an exercise like today. First, it’s a test for the administration on how to mobilise services – the police and fire department, the Red Cross, hospitals and concessionary services, like electricity and transport – during a crisis and how to administer these services to manage the city. And secondly, how to handle the crisis itself.”
Addressing how to get the message across to Monaco’s non-French speaking community, Minister Cellario told Monaco Life, “With the government’s social media, we tweet in English and French. Also, we have an SMS alert system, which for the moment is in French, but we are thinking of adding English so people could receive, for example, pollution alerts, weather alerts or earthquake alerts in both languages.”
Minister Cellario encourages the Anglophone community to visit the Public Service section of the gouv.mc website (where information is provided in English) and to sign up for the free Monaco Alert Service to receive an email or SMS in the event of a major risk, explaining the necessary precautions to take or emergency measures put in place.