Warning! Huge emergency response in Hemel is ONLY a training exercise

The Buncefield disaster was the biggest peace time fire
The Buncefield disaster was the biggest peace time fire

Major emergency training exercise planned for Buncefield at BP Hemel oil terminal next week.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is organising a major emergency training exercise at the Hemel terminal involving at least 15 fire appliances.

Exercise Titan will be a multi-agency exercise testing the rapid response to an emergency. It runs from 1.30pm-4.30pm on Thursday June 5 and residents living near the site are asked not to worry if they see emergency services arriving in large numbers.

“We don’t want people to be concerned if they notice a lot of fire engines and other emergency services around the Hemel terminal,” explained Richard Thake, Cabinet Member for Community Safety.

“Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is working closely with other emergency services, terminal operator BP and other partner agencies to create a real-life emergency scenario that will test all responses.”

Director of Community Protection and Chief Fire Officer, Roy Wilsher added: “All road journeys will be undertaken at normal road speeds with no sirens or warning lights, until engines arrive at the scene. We will redirect engines from the exercise if there is a real incident elsewhere.

“Obviously we’re hoping that we never face another incident like the Buncefield fire, but if we do, training exercises like this ensure we are in an excellent position to deal with it.”

Between 15 and 20 fire appliances will be involved, including crews from Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, the Command Support Unit and the High Volume Pump.

A spokesman for BP said: “It is important that we have the opportunity to test our emergency procedures in as realistic a situation as possible. Safety of our staff and of our nearby neighbours are always our first priority.”

The terminal reopened in April 2008 following an explosion and fire at the nearby Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd (HOSL) depot in December 2005 – the largest peacetime fire.