Port firefighters will not give cover

PORT chiefs at Felixstowe today stressed that the container terminal's fire-fighting service would not be providing cover for the resort.But the service would turn out to help if there was an immediate threat to life in any incident in the town.

By RICHARD CORNWELL

Felixstowe editor

richard.cornwell@eveningstar.co.uk

PORT chiefs at Felixstowe today stressed that the container terminal's firefighting service would not be providing cover for the resort.


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But the service would turn out to help if there was an immediate threat to life in any incident in the town.

"We have to stress that we are not the alternative fire service and we will not be providing coverage for Felixstowe and no-one should be under the impression that we would do," said port corporate affairs manager, Paul Davey.

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"However, if our men are available and there is an incident in which there is an immediate threat to life – a danger that someone would be killed – then our men would respond."

Fire crews have very occasionally over the years left the 700-acre complex to help out at major incidents in the town, and the port ambulance service has helped on numerous occasions in emergencies.

Port workers are being urged to be extra vigilant as the fire strike looms – and office workers have been given extra evacuation drills from buildings to remind them of procedures.

"All staff have been made aware that back-up will not be available for the duration of the strike. We are confident that our own fire fighting service can cope with most incidents," added Mr Davey.

The boxport only ever calls on the Suffolk Fire Service in an extreme emergency and has a team of fully trained fire and ambulance personnel on constant call to deal with fires, accidents, chemical emergency and other incidents.

Equipment

A nucleus of full-time officers and men are on duty at the Port fire station 24 hours a day and a paging system is operated to summon supporting members of the fire and ambulance service from other duties when an emergency arises.

Two fire appliances, fully equipped with rescue equipment, including heavy-duty cutters and a bulk foam facility with a chemical response vehicle, are all ready for immediate use.

The equipment is manned by staff trained in fire fighting, advanced life-support, rescue and hazardous chemical procedures.

The port also runs regular training sessions for company and non-company employees to deal with small fires.

Port fire crews also work closely with the dangerous goods centre, which oversees the movement of hazardous cargo through the port to ensure cargo is safe, handled without risks to health and all regulations are met.

The port also has two fully equipped ambulances, each carrying up-to-date life-support equipment and a crew of qualified paramedics. It has also has oil booms and a 2,000-gallon vacuum suction tank is available for an oil or chemical spillage in the harbour or dyke systems.

Safety officers are available 24 hours a day to give advice, and carry out routine safety inspections, job task safety analysis, risk assessment and accident investigations. The port also has a facility for environmental monitoring to sample gases, chemicals, noise, radioactivity, exhaust ventilation systems and lighting.

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