Firefighters prepare to enter the Severn Trent tunnel under Newark
Firefighters prepare to enter the Severn Trent tunnel under Newark

A two-mile tunnel that will form part of Newark’s new sewer system was used for a simulated rescue exercise.

Around 15 firefighters from Newark, Edwinstowe and Retford used it to test their ability to rescue a casualty from a confined space.

They worked with Severn Trent and its contractors, BNM Alliance, to assess the risks of the site and practise rescuing a construction worker from the sewer.

Severn Trent is part-way through a £60m project to upgrade Newark’s ageing sewerage and water system, which will be completed in 2020.

The exercise, on Tuesday, saw firefighters from Newark’s specialist rescue unit hone their skills in working in confined spaces, while the crews from Edwinstowe and Retford tested the service’s new breathing apparatus equipment underground.

Station Manager Martin Bills, who attended the exercise, said: “This was a good opportunity for us to practise our skills in rescuing from confined spaces, while being able to assess a local risk site in Nottinghamshire.

A firefighter prepares to winch a simulated casualty to safety
A firefighter prepares to winch a simulated casualty to safety

“The tunnel is still under construction, so this made a perfect opportunity to simulate the rescue of a construction worker from 100 metres inside it.

“Thankfully situations like this are rare. We pride ourselves, however, on being ready for any situation that we could face at an incident.

“Being able to work alongside contractors from BNM Alliance, who are currently working on the tunnel, was a very positive experience, and they were very supportive of our training and requirements, working with us to get the most out of the site.

“It was a successful exercise and, as with anything of this kind, it is a valuable experience to gain a first-hand insight into locations that could be a potential risk, and how we would deal with an incident if it were to occur there.”