Control measure knowledge

Cabling and infrastructure for national grid or local third party electrical supplies are likely to present the most immediate difficulties to firefighters when dealing with railway incidents. Local fire and rescue services should identify the presence of additional electrical supplies when carrying out routine familiarisation visits.

The infrastructure manager responsible for the system has no direct control over these supplies. However, the responsible person may be able to provide information on identification and ownership from their organisational database. The duty for isolating the supply rests with the utilities undertaker and normal local fire and rescue service procedures will apply.

Cable trunking is provided to carry cables through the infrastructure and may appear to provide a suitable pathway for access and egress of firefighters. Generally, most trunking is capped with a thin concrete slab. This has little tensile strength and can be susceptible to vandalism, often leaving it broken up and exposing cables. Trunking covers should not be used as walkways along the trackside as they are not designed for that purpose and may fail. In darkness they can also present significant slip, trip and fall hazards.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide tactical guidance and support arrangements for identifying additional utilities within the rail environment

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Identify utilities installed adjacent to railway lines and assess the impact on the incident and the safety of personnel

  • Consider the impact of stations, tunnels, sidings, depots and other rolling stock on incident response

  • Identify and communicate trackside hazards (e.g. power, utilities, biological materials, undergrowth)