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Tunnels Used For Emergency Trial

Two people have been ‘rescued’ from Liverpool’s Williamson Tunnels in a major mock-up operation designed as a training session.

Fire and ambulance crews took part in the pretend emergency at the Paddington entrance to the tunnels in the grounds of the Liberty Park student village at Edge Hill.

The Williamson Tunnels are a maze of underground tunnels dating back to the early 19th century. They were built under the orders of retired tobacco merchant Joseph Williamson, although the reason for them is not known.

A lot of the tunnels are under residential areas and some have been renovated and are open to the public.

Lifting gear was used in the mock-up emergency to lift a ‘casualty’ to the surface.

The casualty was 16-stone Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels volunteer Damon Moss
Les Coe, a trustee with the Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels, said: “Something like this could happen down there and it is not beyond the realms of possibility. An exercise like this means the emergency services are up to speed and know what to do if we have a real casualty.”

Chris Howarth, who is based at Kensington fire station, devised the exercise.

He said: “This is the ideal training environment for us because it tests our capability of hauling a casualty aloft from a tunnel complex or anywhere where we would have to use this kind of equipment. It could be someone who needed rescuing from the mud at the docks, or at a quarry or disused well.”

Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels is a voluntary organisation which is trying to find and excavate the whole of the Williamson Tunnels system.

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