Two of NCEC’s Emergency Responders, John Wilkinson and Tom Baker, attended Operation Rosedale, a major, multi-agency exercise simulating the derailment of a passenger rail carriage and a dangerous goods train carrying molten phenol.
The excercise was organised by Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and also involved the NCEC, Network Rail, British Transport Police, Nottinghamshire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, and the DB Schenker Rail UK Breakdown and Recovery teams.
The exercise simulated an incident involving a derailed tanker, which contained molten phenol that had spilt next to the tracks. In addition to the complexities of the chemicals involved, the excercise further tested those involved by simulating that a number of nearby rail workers had been affected by the fumes and passengers on the derailed carriage being trapped inside.
As part of the excercise NCEC’s on-duty Emergency Responder, Simon Jones, received an emergency notification and informed the on-scene hazardous material and environmental protection officers (HMEPO) of the properties of the spilled chemical. Simon recommended a suitable level of personal protective equipment to enable the fire and rescue service to conduct a snatch rescue and retrieve the affected rail workers. Simon also explained that the phenol would rapidly solidify after being released from the heated tanker and this would minimise any harmful fumes. This specialist information allowed the emergency services in attendance to cordon off the chemical spillage and focus on the more urgent task of freeing the injured passengers from the derailed carriage.
As part of its national role endorsed by governments and industry, NCEC handles hundreds of calls each year from the UK emergency services and public agencies. While real major incidents are rare, they can be costly. NCEC’s interventions have been shown to save money and prevent harm to people, property and the environment, and are warmly appreciated by users of the service.
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