Fire exercise to be carried out in the Panenská tunnel on the D8 motorway
The Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic (ŘSD) is preparing a project unique in our country. On Saturday, 3 October 2009, a fire test will be carried out in the Panenská tunnel, located on the D8 motorway in the direction from Ústí nad Labem towards the border with Germany. All units of the Integrated Rescue System will participate in the test, which will also include tactical training. The project should serve to prevent events similar to those that have occurred in tunnels in the Alps.
The ŘSD carries out similar safety measures on all its constructions requiring such preventative action. Nevertheless, the training that will take place on 3 October 2009 near the German border is truly unique. It will take place in the longest tunnel in the Czech Republic, the Panenská tunnel, with the total length of 2,031 metres.
The training will last throughout Saturday. As a result, traffic on the D8 motorway in the vicinity of the tunnel in both directions will be suspended. In co-operation with the Police of the Czech Republic, the ŘSD is preparing timely notification for all drivers. It will inform them of alternative roads, with the direction of Dresden marked green and the direction of Prague red.
Freight and passenger transport will be diverted a sufficient distance before the tunnel on to alternative roads. “The information will be displayed at distances that will make it possible for the drivers to choose another route. All drivers should reach their destination in time. This applies to drivers heading for Germany, as well as in the other direction, i.e. from Germany to Prague. In addition, we have selected a day on which there is a public holiday in Germany, hence, heavy freight transport will not be on the roads on this day anyway,” explains Alfred Brunclík, Chief Executive Officer of the Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic.
The actual training will begin on Saturday, 3 October 2009 at eight o’clock in the morning, when the Police of the Czech Republic will secure the closure of the tunnel on the nearest flyovers. At about nine, the fire exercise itself will start. “First of all, we will ascertain and monitor the behaviour of the tunnel’s safety equipment during a fire without fire simulation,” Alfred Brunclík says. The test will verify, for example, the speed of air locks in the tunnel, the functionality of flaps and ventilators in emergency routes, and other technical–safety equipment of the structure. “All the values that will have been measured and assessed will be recorded in the respective report on the test’s course,” Alfred Brunclík points out.
The second exercise will be launched at 1 p.m. This test will entail the use of aerosol, a unique method for controlled simulation of real fire. “The training will be the same as that in the morning. The difference will rest in the fact that it will concern a really activated fire,” Alfred Brunclík explains. Just like in the case of the morning test, the afternoon test will also include monitoring of the parameters of fire behaviour in the Panenská tunnel. The ŘSD estimates that the entire thoroughfare will be opened again in the afternoon, following complete cleaning of the road and its putting into the appropriate condition.
The exercise aims to map the situation on road structures in various crisis situations. “Only a thorough training will prepare us for situations that can emerge. Unfortunately, we know of such situations from the tunnels in the Alps and by carrying out this exercise we have to learn how to prevent them”, Alfred Brunclík adds.