Fire and rescue operations in tunnels and underground infrastructure create extremely difficult work environments for firefighters. In 2010, I was privileged to conduct a 10-week Churchill Fellowship to study international best practices for planning, preparation and response to emergencies in tunnels. This provided me a unique opportunity to look at a wide range of technical solutions currently underway in Europe and North America. The following three slideshows show some of the highlights. Specifically, one slideshow focuses on Switzerland’s LRZ 08 fire and rescue train. Another highlights the Rosenbauer RLF ZW-T, an apparatus stationed at St. Valentin (Sankt Valentin) in Lower Austria. The other slideshow highlights more compact technological solutions, focusing on ATVs and rail carts used around the world.
Prevention through sound design and enforcement of regulations plays a vital role in keeping our underground infrastructure safe and secure. In spite of our best efforts, there will be times when deliberate acts or unavoidable accidents will place lives in grave danger. Only the best equipped and trained firefighters will be able to perform rescues after such extreme events.