Self-rescue chambers - a success
Location: Norway, Akershus, Drobak/Hurum
Type: HGV Vehicle & tunnel fire
Date: May 2015
Incident course, fire location and vehicle type were similar to a fire in 2011. There are findings that suggest that engine failure caused the fire in 2017 as it did in 2011.
Fire in the Oslo Fjord tunnel June 23rd 2011
The Accident Investigation Board in Norway (AIBN) wrote the following in the report from the fire:
The investigation into the fire in the Oslofjord tunnel on 23 June 2011 has shown that the preconditions for the self-rescue principle were absent as a result of the tunnel's safety equipment and emergency preparedness solution, resulting in several road-users being trapped in the smoke. The AIBN points out the lack of a comprehensive assessment of the interaction between information to road-users, safety equipment, ventilation solution/smoke control, firefighting and safe road-user evacuation (self-rescue) as a basis for the tunnel's emergency preparedness plan.
The relevant agencies, the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration agreed with the AIBN and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, which started work on improving the Oslo Fjord tunnel. The safety was not adequately taken care of in the Oslofjord tunnel in relation to fire in large vehicles.
Following the fire in 2011, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, in cooperation with the emergency services, set a goal to be better prepared for the scenarios of the various events that may occur in the tunnel. It was important to make good use of time by detecting fire early, closing the tunnel, alerting emergency agencies, getting early smoke control and initiating alert and evacuation of road users. Furthermore, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration stated that safety equipment should make it easier to evacuate in a smoky tunnel. A continuous led light and 25 self-rescue chambers were installed.
Fire in the Oslofjord tunnel on May 5th, 2017
The intervention from emergency agencies and the evacuation of vehicles and people seems to have worked in this incident, and the level of damage on road users became modest. Installed safety systems and self-rescue chambers seem to have contributed to this. Safety equipment worked as it should and the emergency services and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration say that the possibility of self-rescue and safety is taken care of as closely as possible in a one-tube tunnel like the Oslofjord tunnel. Furthermore, emergency services are well prepared. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration, in cooperation with the emergency services, has started to improve safety equipment and preparedness in light of new learning points at this fire. It was a problem that several vehicles drove past the red light and the road barriers, after the tunnel was closed. The road users who had to evacuate into self-rescue rooms, initially drove into the tunnels after the tunnel was was closed.
Photo and Video: From The Public Roads Administration, Statens vegvesen (Youtube, May, 2017)