Cear carry out terrifyingly realistic fire simulation drill: Malawi Red Cross, Police respond

Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS)  and Police on Thursday rescued dozens of screaming passengers when Central East African Railways (Cear)  conducted a fire simulation exercise in Lirangwe, Blantyre.

The drill was a success as the services reacted within the expected time

The mock-accident staged by Cear in fire simulation exercise

Mock -rescue at the drill

It sounds like something from a blockbuster thriller, but the huge emergency response was part of an elaborate drill to test their emergency system and response time of service departments such as the fire department, the Malawi Police Service (MPS), medical services and the community.

“It was a deliberate thing, we wanted to test our emergency system,” said Cear spokesman Chisomo Mwamadi.

“This kind of exercise demonstrates that should a terrible accident ever happen for real, service providers are  ready to respond in the most efficient and effective way possible,” he said.

The exercise marks the first time the Red Cross and Police have enacted a live-action with the  Red Cross responding  after 20 minutes and  the police arrived after 23 minutes.

The  St John Ambulance arrived after 34 minutes while the fire department were the last to respond and arrived 38 minutes later.

Cear’s general manager for human rights, health, safety, environment, community and communications Titus Mtonyo said the exercise was a success as the services reacted within the expected time frame.

“We called for the services and from Blantyre to Lirangwe the first response arrived in 20 minutes and the community was also very cooperative and we are happy and those we hired to simulate acted in a more natural manner,” he said.

Lirangwe became the scene of a mock-accident and photos were circulating on social media, prompting Cear to clarify that it was a drill.

It was designed to test every phase of the emergency services’ effectiveness – from the moment an incident is reported, to the conclusion of a rescue operation.


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Douglas Ndindi
Thanks CEAR for creating such a scenario to galvanize into action all parties concerned. Thanks to the service providers and the community for your prompt response. The response times mentioned in the article may be interpreted as “too late” as some readers have indicated, but we need to look at the distance that these players had to cover. As for as I am concerned, they made good time. However, I think government should find a way to ensure that these response teams, especially fire fighters, are not too far apart in the country. The only way we can reduce their… Read more »
chakwana chakwana

twenty minutes is recomendable time considering the distance from blantyre to lilangwe. big up service providers


A good effort but too slow to save life and property. Fires destroy property and people’s lives in seconds. The Fire engine, police and ambulance must react in a much shorter time than 23 minutes. Generally, after 3 minutes fire will grow and become uncontrollable, destroying life and property instantly. Hopefully, authorities will be committed to make much needed improvements.

Mlomwe original

That was wonderful. Fire drills are the way to test our medical, fire, redcross, medical even the MDF personnel on how fast are they on calamity. Pliz rate them for us if they are fast enough or below standard. Thanks cear


Nice drill indeed. The response team needs protective wear, though.


Ena anayamba kusonkhetsa ufa ndi ndalama monga achipani osadziwa kuti this was just a still kkkkkk

Chimwa madzi

These mathafakaz arrived in time coz they were told before hand of the drill.But if they werent,geez !!!!!!!the times would have been alarming,somewhere around 5hrs or so


This was a powerful drill. We need this in all departments and areas where disasters are inevitable. Thumps CEAR!

Rhodriques Majawa

Nice development. It’s one of those things we often ignore but when the unfortunate happens, we are quick to point fingers at each other. It was great how the rescuers arrived within the set time. Bravo Police! Bravo Red Cross! Bravo Fire dept.!!!

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