‘Chemical spill’ training exercise held at university campus

Firefighters take part in 'chemical spill' training exercise at university

A staged chemical spill at the University of Northampton’s Waterside Campus became the focus of a specialist training event for firefighters earlier this week.

Firefighters from Earls Barton, The Mounts and Moulton attended the university’s tannery, which is part of the new Institute for Creative Leather Technologies, yesterday evening (Wednesday).

There they used an artificial scenario to go through the processes of dealing with a chemical substance spillage.

Dealing with the scene involved firefighters working in gas-tight chemical suits. It also included the search and rescue of a person missing inside.

The exercise forms part of routine training carried out by firefighters at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) in ‘real life’ settings, which allows them to familiarise themselves with locations and practise working on scenarios alongside other agencies.

Luke Hodson, Fire Safety Advisor for the University commented: “This is a great way for the university to tap into the expertise of NFRS and test our own incident plans and staff training.”

Station Commander Ashley Tugby, event organiser, said: “I must stress there is no elevated risk associated with the university, but this was simply a valuable opportunity for us to work together to tackle a staged situation with a real backdrop.

“We work closely with the university and will also be carrying out further water and fire safety events on campus.

“The staff at the university were amazing and very knowledgeable so we would like to thank them for their support.

“The building is a huge new establishment for the university and part of our procedures would be to familiarise ourselves in dealing with emergency incidents, working alongside different agencies, so we can have a coordinated response.”

Sarah Steers, Safety, Health and Environment Manager at the University of Northampton said: “Exercises such as this and our recent water rescue scenario afford us the opportunity to physically demonstrate how robust the University’s health and safety processes are. Partnering with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service presents the opportunity for them to practise their emergency preparedness protocols in a safe and controlled environment and this exercise was a great example of our close working relationship.”

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