Stockholm prepares for terror attack

Terrorists are expected to attack Stockholm on Wednesday, 25 April. But there’s no need to panic. It’s only a simulated exercise organized and coordinated by The Swedish Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

Wednesday’s dry-run is part of a larger-scale exercise, SAMÖ 2007, which will take place 24-26 April, though largely as a computer simulation. Christer Sundgren, SEMA’s coordinator for Södermalm told The Local, “It’s the largest simulated exercise of a grand scale crisis ever undertaken in Sweden.”

The carnage will take place near Eriksdal swimming pool at Skanstull on Södermalm in Stockholm. The time of the attack is a secret well under wraps. When the scenario unfolds there are expected to be hundreds of “victims” dazed, dying or dead making the area an open-air stage of a Shakespearian tragedy on a colossal scale.

The thespians have been recruited from the nursing institutes around Stockholm. Some will play dead, while others will scream in virtual pain or wander around in a zombie-like shock.

SAMÖ 2007, aims to gain an understanding of a crisis situation so as to improve coordinated responses by emergency services. In addition to the obvious need to rescue and care for the injured and shocked, they will also practice the containment of the spread of infectious agents, toxic chemicals and radioactive materials.

Communication with the media and the general public is an important part of the exercise – as in a real situation. During the exercise, WIS (Web-based Information System) and the web-based portal for emergency information will be tested. The reporting routines that SEMA has been assigned by the government to develop will also be used.

The international community will also play an active role in the exercise. An important part of the exercise will be international cooperation and support resulting from bilateral and multilateral agreements in the EU and Nordic Region. The main focus will be on examining different forms of alerts, along with requesting and receiving international help.

Because of the enormous scale of the event the exercise intends to simulate and because of the involvement of the international community, the world will be watching its progress. Birgitta Darrell, coordinator of the visitors program, told The Local that there will be 90 delegates from all corners of the globe.

The City of Stockholm assures that there will be no significant interruptions to public transport. Eriksdal pool also assures all non-crisis participants that the facility is open for business as usual. So if you come across scenes of carnage in central Stockholm, don’t forget – it’s only a test.

Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius