Fire fighter Training in enclosed spaces- Experiences of Hagerbach Test Gallery, Switzerland

Published:  19 April, 2010

Tunnel accidents are challenges for all rescue services specially fire fighters. Fire fighters have to rescue persons and extinguish fires in a situation with partly unknown boundary conditions. This report is concerned with a comprehensive integrated training programme for the fire brigades covering tunnel insets.

At the trainings the participants first will be introduced to emergency situations and the arising dangers and risks through various exercise scenarios. Training starts with basic procedures, such as communication whilst in tunnels and reconnaissance of emergency scenes involving unspecified - possibly even toxic - substances, whilst in artificially smoky tunnels.

With real fires under controlled conditions, the response units were introduced to dealing with rising temperatures and an increase in smoke in the tunnel. To this end realistic tunnel accidents were created in the 400m fire test gallery of VSH Hagerbach Test Gallery Ltd. The exercises carried out clearly demonstrated the necessity of such courses, since even fire fighters behave differently working under stress in a tunnel environment, than in the open. By the same token, questions which above ground do not arise in the same way take on added significance. Examples of this are communications, reconnaissance of the accident site and saving people at a great operational depth.

  • Operation Florian

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