A chain collision between three vehicles travelling in the Central Expressway (CTE) tunnel during the evening peak hours led to a spill of toxic chemicals, a car being engulfed in flames, as well as mass casualties arising from the chain collision.
This was the scenario of the joint emergency exercise conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in the CTE tunnel on the early morning of Sunday, 25 November 2012. Some 200 LTA and SCDF officers took part in the exercise which tested inter-agency readiness in managing a fire situation in the CTE tunnel.
LTA and SCDF carry out joint exercises in road tunnels at least once every year. The last CTE tunnel exercise was conducted in June 2009.
In the event of a fire within the road tunnels, emergency services such as the SCDF, Police, LTA Traffic Marshals and EMAS crew will be activated on site to manage the fire, assist motorists to evacuate, as well as to implement the tunnel closure and traffic diversion. The operators at the LTA Operations Control Centre (OCC) will activate the ventilation system to push the smoke downstream out of the tunnel and raise the tunnel lighting level to maximum brightness. They will also broadcast tunnel closure messages advising motorists to avoid the area through various channels such as radio break-in, LTA traffic news, Twitter and on EMAS signs.
Should motorists encounter a fire or other emergencies while travelling in the tunnel, they can dial 995 for SCDF’s assistance. They can also tune in to the local radio channels to listen to the LTA emergency announcements and instructions. They should not proceed further or reverse their vehicle if red crosses are lit on the overhead lane use signs. Motorists are advised to stay calm, to turn off their vehicle engines and leave their vehicle for the nearest escape staircase or cross passage doors to evacuate the tunnel.