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GALLERY: Firefighters’ ‘tenacity’ put to the test at Northfleet chemical leak drill

PUBLISHED: 12:07 19 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:07 19 May 2016

 Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) training exercise to test how crews would respond to an incident involving a chemical leak at Lidl’s Distribution Centre in Crete Hall Road. Northfleet

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) training exercise to test how crews would respond to an incident involving a chemical leak at Lidl’s Distribution Centre in Crete Hall Road. Northfleet

Archant

The drill was at Lidl’s distribution centre in Crete Hall Road

Around 20 firefighters were called out to Northfleet yesterday for a training exercise.

The crews were called into action to test how they would respond to a chemical leak at Lidl’s distribution centre in Crete Hall Road.

Rob Parkin, crew manager, organised the exercise.

He explained how the day was planned: “The scenario unfolds after the alarm is raised following a malfunction in the Northfleet cold storage facility, resulting in hazardous vapours being released.

“This would trigger the site’s emergency response plan to be implemented, which includes evacuating the building of staff.

“However, after the roll call it becomes clear that a member of staff is unaccounted for.”

Firefighters dressed in regular breathing apparatus snatched the ‘casualty’ taking it back outside, before firefighters dressed in specialist chemical protection suits were sent in to identify the chemical leak.

The three hour exercise saw firefighters practice blocking drains and setting up an exclusion zones, to prevent a chemical contaminating the water supply.

Stacy Copley, head of logistics at Lidl commented that the exercise was a chance to test the sites emergency response plans.

She said: “Carrying out this training exercise with KFRS is a valuable experience in preparing us to implement the plan in the unlikely event of an incident occurring.”

Mr Parkin added: “Whilst incidents of this nature are rare, we are extremely grateful to Lidl for providing this realistic training opportunity.

“It allowed us to test the response skills and tenacity of our firefighters to resolve and contain the situation safely, quickly and effectively.”

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