BP and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are teaming up to carry out a live emergency exercise at the company's Hemel Hempstead terminal.

Fourteen appliances, plus the Command Support Unit, will be called to the oil terminal to fight a jet fuel fire in the bund area surrounding one of the tanks. The site will be shut down and evacuated to replicate the conditions encountered in a real emergency.

The event - which takes place from 7pm on Monday, June 6 - is to help prepare retained firefighters following a successful emergency exercise for full time crews in 2009.

Martin Coleman, Storage Operations Manager at the terminal, said: "This is an extremely important exercise both for us and the Fire Service. It's a great way of making sure all our emergency plans and protocols work.

"The last exercise was a great success, so we want to replicate that for the retained crews. We also want to warn nearby residents about what is happening so they are not alarmed when they see so many fire engines heading to the terminal at that time of day."

Dave Stokes, Hemel Hempstead Fire Station Commander, said: "We want to make sure that everyone, including our retained officers, is up to speed on how we would respond to a major incident at a site like the Hemel depot. The exercise in 2009 went really well and we welcome this opportunity to test our crews and our emergency response plans in a live exercise like this."

Richard Thake, Executive Member for Community Safety, said: "While we all hope that we will never have to use the plan in reality, having a tried and tested plan in place will ensure that if the worst does happen, everyone is fully prepared to respond quickly and safely."

Millions of pounds have been spent on improvements and changes to the terminal since the fire and explosion at the nearly HOSL depot in December 2005.


Posted: 12.05am, 31.05.11