21st major Channel Tunnel safety exercise Safety: the priority for Eurotunnel

Eurotunnel, together with the British and French emergency services, conducted BINAT 21 starting at 11pm on Saturday 8th January. This was the 21st major bi-national safety exercise involving fire and rescue, ambulance and police services from both countries.

This year, the exercise was led by the UK Authorities.

BINAT is a regular exercise designed to test the coordinated response of the emergency services to an incident in the Channel Tunnel. This is the only safety exercise of such magnitude conducted in Europe and Eurotunnel is the only infrastructure manager and transport operator to allocate such resources to this kind of exercise. Eurotunnel estimates that BINAT 21 cost around €200,000.

The 2011 exercise simulated the breakdown of a Eurostar train in the North Running Tunnel, the evacuation of approximately 100 passengers, of which four required medical assistance, and their onward transfer to Folkestone and Coquelles (Pas-de-Calais) where they were cared for at an Emergency Reception Area (ERA).

The chosen scenario leads to the mobilisation of significant resources: more than 150 members of the French and British emergency services, 20 judges and observers, two Eurostar trains, 18 STTS vehicles (Service Tunnel Transport system), the designation of a multi-purpose zone…

As a reminder, three months ago, on Sunday 17th October, Eurotunnel conducted a separate safety exercise with Deutsche Bahn, with a view to the German company running services to London via the Channel Tunnel in the future.

Tunnel Chief Operating Officer, Michel Boudoussier, stated “ The regular organisation of this type of real time exercise shows the importance which the Group attaches to the safety of its customers, its staff and the goods which are transported through the Tunnel. The completion of such exercises is useful and particularly so in the context of new entrants coming forward. In this context, it is imperative that the personnel of the rail companies which use the Channel Tunnel are not only familiar with but also completely trained for this very specific environment.”

Note to Editors:

Eurotunnel considers safety to be an absolute priority: the Channel Tunnel and the Shuttles are equipped with more than 20,000 different control points, sensors and detectors which are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These measures and the existence of a service tunnel, which is accessible every 375 metres, lead international experts to consider this to be one of the safest transport systems in the world. Nevertheless, Eurotunnel prepares for extreme situations regularly via exercises such as BINAT.

Groupe Eurotunnel is quoted in Paris (Euronext Paris: GET) and London (London Stock Exchange: GETS).