Fire crews prepare to take to the water and access the tunnel

This Saturday (8th November) a large multi-agency training exercise took place on the Birmingham – Worcester Canal near Kings Norton. 

Organised by Kings Norton Fire, the exercise involved responses from West Midlands Fire Service, Hereford and Worcester Fire Service, The Canal and River Boat Trust West Midlands, The Canal and River Boat Trust South Wales and Severn officers, West Midlands Police, and West Midlands Ambulance Hazardous Response Team.

Participants were unaware of the subject or location until the exercise evolved.

They found themselves dealing with a tricky scenario in heavy rain: a boat was stuck in the middle of the 1.5 mile long Wast Hill Tunnel between Kings Norton and Hopwood and had suffered an engine fire. Several other boats were also in the tunnel, with no access other than by water.

Crews successfully dealt with the incident and rescued four ‘casualties’.

Kings Norton Fire Station Watch Commander Paul Kitchen, who organised the exercise, said: “This was an extremely testing exercise for all involved, testing our operational response procedures and our Joint Emergency Service Interoperability. This type of exercise is vital to allow us to be prepared to respond to any kind of emergency.

“Many thanks to all involved and to the public for their patience. I would like to say thank you to The Canal and River Boat Trust, Alvechurch Marina and the Hopwood House Pub for their assistance, without which we would not have be able to run this large scale exercise” he added.

Watch Commander Kitchen also thanked Selly Oak Guild of Students’ Community Wardens, ABC Boat Hire and Ark Kings Academy.

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