We recently completed a planned multi-agency emergency exercise inside the Hatfield Tunnel on the A1(M).
This exercise involved simulating a ‘real life’ collision and testing the response procedures of Connect Plus Services, Highways England, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue, Hertfordshire Police and the East of England Ambulance Service.
The scenario saw a tanker involved in collision with two cars and a minibus, completely blocking the northbound carriageway. There were 10 casualties, played by specialist actors, who had to be cut from vehicles and transported to hospital.
To replicate the reality of a complex and developing incident, some additional challenges were thrown into the mix, including a diesel spillage and a vehicle fire complete with theatrical smoke to simulate the conditions that responders would be expected to operate in.
This type of exercise is arranged every four years and ensures that the requirements of the Road Tunnels Safety Regulations are met.
The exercise demonstrates the effectiveness and suitability of our emergency response procedures and plans, tests the response of the emergency services, and allows us to confirm that tunnel systems meet their functional purpose when used in the context of a serious incident scenario.
Tunnel Manager Graham Pearce said: “We work very closely with the emergency services to plan for serious incidents. These exercises provide us with a great opportunity to test that the plans we produce work when applied to real-life scenarios. Planned emergency exercises are a vital part of ensuring that our tunnels stay safe for the many thousands of road users that use them every day.”