Firefighter training exercise to take place in Southwick Tunnel

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FIREFIGHTERS from across Sussex are preparing for a major rescue operation on Friday (March 4).

Crews will take part in a simulated multi-car crash exercise in the Southwick Tunnel, on the A27.

The exercise, due to start at 9.30pm and taking up to two hours, will take place while the tunnel is closed for routine maintenance.

Firefighters will work with South East Coast Ambulance Service and Sussex Police to test their emergency plans and procedures for dealing with a major incident.

To make the scene as realistic as possible, scrap vehicles will be strategically placed along the tunnel and smoke machines will create a smoke-logged atmosphere in which firefighters will carry out their search and rescue operation.

Roy Barraclough, deputy district commander for Worthing and Adur, said: “This kind of joint training opportunity is invaluable for the fire service so we can put our emergency plans to the test.

“Thankfully, this kind of incident is extremely rare.

“However, it’s really important that we plan and prepare so we have the skills and resources to respond should an emergency like this occur.”

Members of the tunnel operations team from Balfour Beatty-Mott Macdonald will be on hand to advise the emergency services.

The tunnel will be closed from 8pm to 5am.