Emergency crews complete tests in East End tunnels - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Emergency tests complete in East End tunnels

Emergency crews complete tests in East End tunnels

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Emergency crews tested response systems and technology in the East End tunnels Friday ahead of the bridge and tunnels opening Sunday.

"You've got water suppression systems, you've got monitoring systems, ventilation systems ... There’s a lot of different technology and a lot of different systems that have to talk to each other and they have to work together," said Dan Hartlage, spokesperson for WVB East End Partners.

Firefighters were not told ahead of time what type of scenario they would have to deal with.

"My crews, we didn't brief them on anything,” said Harrods Creek Fire Chief Kevin Tyler. “The only thing they knew was they were going to participate, but they didn't know what the role was going to be. So we set them up and dispatched from MetroSafe like how they would actually be dispatched."

The tests also allowed dispatchers, multiple fire departments and engineers to work together. In one tunnel, crews had to put out a car fire. In the process, one of the vents turned on. Chief Tyler explained that worked just as they’d hoped.

"It did exactly what it was supposed to do,” he said. “A fan kicked on, but it didn't require all of them to kick on. And you saw it moved the smoke out of there quickly."

In the other tunnel, the scenario was to test the deluge system. If there was ever a large fire in the tunnel, the system should automatically trigger a section of sprinklers to blast out foam. In the test, engineers were going to manually trigger the system so firefighters could practice responding in the elements. But the sprinklers would not turn on.

"Luckily, we did find out that we did have a problem with one of the valves,” Chief Tyler said. “It was frozen. They've quickly corrected that issue. The next time we test that, the deluge system should activate."

The tests also allowed dispatcher and firefighters to make sure the location of the tunnels and roads showed up on their GPS systems and maps.

Chief Tyler said after these tests, he is confident the crews will be able to respond properly in case of any emergency once the tunnels open. Company commanders will meet on Monday to discuss any suggestions or problems from these tests in order to create a response policy.

If a driver is ever in an accident or there’s an emergency in the tunnel, anyone can go over to the walkway along the side of both tunnels and use one of the emergency phones or activate the fire alarms. That will alert first responders.

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