Norwegian Tunnel Safety Center
VIA cluster will establish facilities for research, development, demonstrations and learning, with a main focus on tactical training and practical execution for fire fighters and Incident Command.
Norwegian Tunnel Safety Center: VIA aims at establishing a center that can serve as a place where command staff and firefighters can train on basic skills for search, rescue and fire extinguishing in tunnels. (Photo: Arild P. Søvik)
These tunnel facilities will be equipped with infrastructure and installations specially designed for research and development. The center will have a geographical and academic connection with the University of Stavanger, as well as the business community, including industrial stakeholders.
Incident commands is in need of knowledge of tunnels and tunnel fires, as well as knowledge of tactical dispositions of crew and team. IC must make the right decisions in a very demanding situation, both in terms of information access, complexity in design and risk.
The fire fighters and rescue team have to perform tactically challenging work in more or less unknown surroundings, compared with daily challenges in buildings and industries. It is crucial for the outcome that the firefighters has the basic training in tactical methodology for collecting information, doing research and rescue, and fire extinguishing in tunnels. 30 hours of basic training in tunnel rescue and fire extinguishing is considered a basic course in Europe.
In recent years we have experienced major fires in Norwegian road tunnels, fires that could quickly have resulted in tragedies and fatal consequences. In Europe, such tragedies have been seen. Learning and subsequent work show that it is crucial for the outcome of such incidents that all involved are well prepared.
At the same time we see that tunnels, which have become such an important, complex and vulnerable part of our infrastructure, have several weaknesses in terms of reliability, accessibility, maintenance and safety. Accordingly it is of the utmost importance to facilitate research and development which, in turn, paves the way for industry to offer reliable, accessible, maintenance-friendly and secure constructions and installations.
The objective is to be capable of completing basic training for 1500 participants a year, cinsisting of command personell and fire crews. The facilities will offer an infrastructure and design that allows for testing and demonstrations of technology, outcomes and results of research in addition to solutions that are developed through industrial cooperations.
Practise makes perfect: The tunnel facilities will allow for more competance among fire and rescue personell, which is a major need in the case of the Norwegian tunnels. (Photo: Arild P. Søvik)