Calabria: Civil Protection exercise in the Galleria Santomarco

Reggio Calabria 3 December 2019

A train is blocked in the Santomarco tunnel of the Castiglione-Paola line after impacting with an obstacle that has resulted in an axis of the locomotor seizing up and the outbreak of a fire. The ten passengers on board, including elderly people, complain of breathing and walking difficulties.

The Regional Operations Centre of the Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (FS Italiane Group) is immediately informed, providing the position of the train within the tunnel—about 200 metres from the exit towards Cosenza—with some passengers requiring medical assistance and necessitating the urgent technical intervention of the Fire Department. After interrupting railway traffic, medics from Italy's 118 service (the Medical Emergency Service number) and Fire Brigade enter the gallery aboard an assistance vehicle, having set out from the Castiglione Cosentino station, to extinguish the fire, rescue any wounded and evacuate passengers, with the help of the RFI personnel. Any injured persons classified as code yellow are accompanied to the assistance vehicle, whilst unharmed persons are guided by the Trenitalia personnel to leave the train then walk through the tunnel along the lateral paths until reaching the exit towards Cosenza.

This is the scenario re-enacted as part of the railway emergency exercise that took place on the night between Monday, 2 and Tuesday, 3 December in the Galleria Santomarco. The initiative was promoted and coordinated in collaboration with the Prefecture of Cosenza, the Civil Protection Service of the Calabria Region, the Provincial Police Corps of Cosenza, the Provincial Fire Brigade Command of Cosenza, the “118” Medical Emergency Service of Cosenza, the Italian Red Cross, Cosenza division, Law Enforcement (Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza, Polfer—the railway police—and the State and Road Police) along with certain Volunteer Associations.

The exercise was preceded by an information session held by the personnel of the Group and addressed to external parties involved in the simulation focused on the subject of specific risks in the railway area.

The objectives of the exercise, practical feasibility: the Internal Emergency Plan for the Galleria Santomarco, the flow of communications, the procedures and protocols of the FS Italiane Group, the Integrated System of the Civil Protection and 118 (Italy's Medical Emergency Service) regarding passenger assistance in the event of an emergency in the railway area, the correct application of the regulations in force regarding the management of railway emergencies and the communication capacities between the units involved in maintaining high safety standards along with the protection of people, things and the environment. In particular, the accessibility to the tunnel by the assistance vehicles was determined, in order to facilitate the assisted exodus and transfer of the injured to the triage area.

There was no impact on train traffic.