Fire and Rescue Operations during Construction of Tunnels

Published:  14 April, 2010

The last decades a great deal of research has been performed regarding different fields of fire safety and fire development in existing tunnels. During constructions of tunnels the physical conditions of the establishment as well as the fire load, the possibilities to evacuate and perform a fire and rescue operation are essentially separated from the conditions in the opened tunnel. During the construction phase, the safety installations prior to the finished state, often is not yet installed or in function.

Before the break through, the tunnel can have a “dead end”, which can make both evacuation and fire and rescue operations very difficult. Many different organizations can be involved in the construction work with the tunnel and it is not uncommon that the workers have different nationalities. Both these conditions can, in case of an incident, influence the alarm chain and the quality of the information that reaches the emergency services. The incident commander (IC) in a large fire- and rescue operation has to survey a complex situation, where conventional methods and normal tactical approaches can be difficult to use. This paper discusses the fire- and rescue services possibilities to perform a fire and rescue operation during the different phases of the construction. Limitations, based on information from real fires and full-scale tests are analyzed and discussed. Both technical and organizational solutions for self-rescue or as support for the fire- and rescue services are valued and discussed.

  • Operation Florian

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