UK M25 Dartford exercise proves successful
United Kingdom – A live exercise testing emergency responses at the M25 Dartford Crossing has been hailed as a success.
A live emergency responses exercise conducted at the M25 Dartford crossing has been hailed as a success.
The exercise, which was carried out on Sunday June 11th 2006, involved the Highways Agency, emergency services from Kent and Essex and crossing operator Le Crossing Ltd.
It aimed to check the efficiency of the emergency services in response to disasters in the Dartford tunnels and to test the extent to which traffic disruption could be minimised.
"I am really pleased with the fantastic teamwork and co-operation between all the parties involved during this exercise," said John Aspinall, Highways Agency divisional director.
"We want to make sure that in a real emergency, there would be a swift and effective response to limit casualties and keep disruption to an absolute minimum."
Assistant chief constable, Adrian Leppard, of Kent Police added that he was "very pleased" with the police’s response to the exercise and said they "coped fantastically with the challenges presented to them throughout the night".
The exercise involved the creation of two road crash accident scenes in the West Tunnel at the Crossing.
The first accident caused a fire in the tunnel, where crews had to work in safe, artificial smoke.
Damaged vehicles, including a tanker, were placed inside the tunnel.
A number of undamaged, drivable vehicles were parked between both incidents and more ‘trapped vehicles’ were placed behind the sites of the incidents on the Kent side of the Crossing.
The emergency services had to rescue people trapped in their cars and remove nearly 100 volunteers playing the role of evacuees from stranded vehicles.
Two deaths were simulated, along with up to 30 casualties in the two accidents, all of whom were evacuated and treated swiftly and safely by the crews.
The Agency has commissioned a report to detail the results of the exercise and to make sure any needed improvements to emergency procedures are undertaken.