Fire operations in UTS require a high level of personnel.
Vehicle fires in traffic tunnels should be extinguished as soon as possible. At the same time, search and rescue in the smoke-filled sections of the tunnel must begin. This results in a high personnel requirement, which poses considerable challenges for many fire services.
Personnel-intensive two-sided attack
The tactics of the International Fire Academy is to extinguish a vehicle fire in a traffic tunnel from the upstream side as quickly as possible in order to inhibit further smoke production and thus improve the conditions for search and rescue on the downstream side. So firefighting is carried out on one side in order to be able to rescue faster on the other side. This two-sided attack requires a massive deployment of personnel.
Personnel requirements vary considerably
Both the firefighting and search and rescue units consist of at least five firefighters each. One firefighting unit is often sufficient for firefighting. How many search and rescue units are needed in road tunnels depends primarily on how many sections need to be searched between emergency exits. In a favourable case, the smoke is limited to a maximum of 300 to 500 m long section. In the unfavourable case, however, dozens of such sections must be searched, and correspondingly many search and rescue units deployed. In railway tunnels, the sections between emergency exits can be many kilometres long and passenger trains up to 400 m of length may have to be searched. For this reason, an extraordinarily large amount of personnel is to be expected for fire operations in railway tunnels.
How many personnel is needed for first alarm?
How many emergency personnel are to be planned for the first alarm depends on the respective tunnel system and cannot be answered in a general way. In road tunnels with smoke extraction, the smoke is limited to a few sections. Therefore, fewer emergency personnel are required here than in tunnels with longitudinal ventilation, in which a tube can completely be filled with smoke.
Fires in railway tunnels are expected to require a particularly high level of personnel, as the fire loads of trains are considerably higher than road vehicles, the required penetration depths can be of up to several kilometres, and hundreds of passengers may have to be rescued and/or cared for.
Tactics workshops achieve clarity
At the tactics workshops of the International Fire Academy, different scenarios are played through in order to determine the personnel requirements for a specific tunnel. At the same time, it is examined which fire services can meet this demand and how, despite the massive use of personnel, basic protection in the respective municipalities can be ensured.