Avon Fire & Rescue Service perform rescue drills at National Grid’s Hinkley Connection Project site
65m unconnected pylons proved ideal for training as a live electricity circuit makes these exercises usually impossible
Firefighters carried out potentially lifesaving tower rescue simulation
National Grid and Balfour Beatty, its principal contractor on the Hinkley Connection Project, hosted firefighters from Avon Fire and Rescue Service at its Avonmouth site on Saturday, 10 December.
Slightly delayed by the call of duty and a real-life emergency, ten firefighters from Red Watch at Templeback Fire Station, assembled at the newly constructed lattice pylon, close to St Andrew’s Way in Avonmouth for a tower rescue simulation exercise. For safety reasons, this training cannot take place on live infrastructure, but because the pylon is built, but conductors are not yet hung nor energised, it provided a unique opportunity for the Technical Rope Rescue Team.
After introductions and a safety check, the team climbed the lattice pylon by rope and ladder using approved techniques. The team carried out the tower rescue procedure safely and efficiently from start to finish, with the dummy casualty being safely retrieved to ground on a stretcher by rope and pully method.
We were pleased to provide access to one of the Hinkley Connection Project’s newly built pylons to support our local firefighters in their lifesaving work.
James Grady, Crew Manager, Avon Fire and Rescue, said: “We'd like to extend our thanks to National Grid and Balfour Beatty for accommodating us and allowing us access to the pylon in Avonmouth for training.
"As Avon Fire and Rescue Service’s Technical Rope Rescue Team, we are called to a wide-range of incidents where people are in need of rescue from height. Having the chance to try out new techniques on a 65-metre tower is a very valuable experience for us.
"We look forward to working closely in the future with Balfour Beatty and National Grid in training scenarios, and we'll be ready to respond to any live incidents if we're ever required.”
Aden Precious, Project Manager for National Grid, added: “We were pleased to provide access to one of the Hinkley Connection Project’s newly built pylons to support our local firefighters in their lifesaving work, including future 'at-height' rescues that the team is called out to. This kind of training scenario is invaluable for emergency services, and we were very happy to help.”
Robert White of Balfour Beatty added: "This was a commendable effort that could prove potentially lifesaving to future pylon rescue scenarios. All learnings were captured for review by Balfour Beatty, National Grid and Avon Fire and Rescue. This will support joint collaboration, teamwork and continual improvement on the journey towards zero harm in construction."
The Hinkley Connection Project is a new high-voltage electricity connection between Bridgwater and Seabank near Avonmouth. It is a significant investment in the region’s electricity network and will enable National Grid to connect new sources of low-carbon energy to homes and businesses, including Hinkley Point C, EDF Energy’s new power station in Somerset.
It will play a vital role in delivering electricity safely, efficiently and reliably, and support the UK’s ambition to achieve its net zero by 2050 target.
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