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Self-rescue to safe areas after accident

Road users and train passengers will be able to reach safe areas in the tunnel until the emergency services from Denmark and/or Germany arrive.

If there is an accident, road users, train passengers and train personnel in the Fehmarnbelt tunnel will easily be able to get themselves to safe place until the rescue and emergency personnel arrive to help. Femern A/S has optimised the tunnel’s design to make self-rescue as simple and effective as possible. 

Rapid escape routes

There will be a connection between the tunnel tubes via emergency exits, which will enable people in the tunnel to reach safety easily. The most important aspect for fast self-rescue is the distance to the nearest emergency exit. Emergency exits will be located at no more than 110 m intervals, a significantly shorter distance than in most other railway and road tunnels. This means that people who find themselves in the vicinity of an accident will be no more than 110 m from an emergency exit that leads into a safe area in one of the adjacent tunnel tubes.  

Self-rescue in the road tunnel  

In the road tubes, road users will be informed via information boards, loudspeakers and radio. If a serious situation should arise in one of the tunnel tubes, everyone affected by the incident, and who cannot drive out of the tunnel themselves, will be asked to leave their vehicle immediately and exit through the nearest emergency exit. The emergency exits will lead to a safe area in the adjacent tunnel tube. They will be able to remain here safely until the rescue services arrive.  


The illustration shows the escape route to a safe area in the event of an evacuation from the road tunnel.  

Emergency exits will be located at no more than 110 m intervals, a significantly shorter distance than in most other railway and road tunnels.

Did you know that...

...the most important aspect for fast self-rescue is the distance to the nearest emergency exit?

...emergency exits will be located at no more than 110 m intervals, a significantly shorter distance than in most other railway and road tunnels?

Self-rescue in the rail tunnel 

In the event of a fire in a train in the tunnel, the passengers will be asked to seek safety in the train carriages not affected by the fire. The train will continue travelling out of the tunnel directly to the so-called firefighting point just outside the tunnel on open land. From this point the passengers can safely leave the train using evacuation paths that lead to a rescue site in the open land.

If a fire occurs in a train and cannot be suppressed with the fire suppression equipment carried by the train, and the train is unable to leave the tunnel, it will be necessary to evacuate the train. The train crew is trained for such situations and will immediately initiate evacuation by instructing and guiding the passengers to follow the signage of the escape way, and, via the emergency walkways and emergency exits, to go to the safe area in the emergency lane in the inner road tunnel tube. The emergency exits from the inner rail tunnel tube provide direct access to the safe area in the emergency lane in the inner road tunnel tube. The passengers are therefore able to leave the fire site long before they suffer injuries from any smoke generation in the tube with the accident. From the safe area in the road tunnel tube, everyone can be safely evacuated from the tunnel using buses or on foot. The evacuation from the train will be feasible within a few minutes.

If the incident occurs in the outer railway tube, the passengers cross the inner railway tube on the rescue route. At the emergency exits, there are steps and walkways leading across the railway track so that passengers can cross the track unimpeded to the safe area in the road tunnel.


The illustration shows the escape route to a safe area in the event of an evacuation from the rail tunnel.

When LCC registers an incident in the railway tube, entry to the road tunnel tubes will be blocked with barriers to prevent further vehicle traffic. The speed can be lowered via the variable traffic signs, and the remaining traffic in the road tunnel is guided to the overtaking lane furthest from the emergency lane. The emergency lane then constitutes a safe area as the vehicle traffic is stationary at the tunnel entrance and the last vehicles in the tunnel tube are guided away from the emergency lane. 

Evacuated rail passengers can safely remain in the road tunnel’s emergency lane until rescue buses arrive to drive them out of the tunnel. 

Critical events in a train tube 

Railway accidents are very rare. And incidents where a train catches fire are even rarer. Moreover, a train with a fire on board will almost always be able to drive out of the tunnel. 
In the rare situation where there is an incident involving a fire in the rail tunnel or in a train, the tunnel’s control centre and the train traffic’s control centre will immediately ensure that all traffic heading into the tunnel is stopped. Trains that might have already entered the tunnel will usually be able to continue or back out without being affected by the fire. There are strict legal requirements concerning fire protection for both rolling stock and fixtures and fittings (seats, floors, ventilation, barriers between individual carriages, etc.).

If a fire breaks out on board a train, passengers will be asked to walk safely to the unaffected carriages while the train continues directly to the so-called fire-fighting point, just outside the tunnel in open land. From here, passengers will be able to leave the train safely via evacuation pathways which lead to a place of rescue, out in the open.

Should a fire be registered in a rail tube, staff at the tunnel’s control centre will immediately activate the ventilation system to produce pressure in the tubes not affected by the incident. The difference in pressure will prevent any smoke from the affected tube spreading to the other tubes. 

In the very rare case of a fire occurring in a train that cannot be extinguished by the fire-fighting equipment available on board, and the train cannot leave the tunnel, passengers will be required to evacuate the train. They will be told to follow the escape route in the rail tube to the safe area located in the road tunnel’s emergency lane. The evacuation from the train will only take a few minutes. Passengers will therefore be able to vacate the tube long before they are endangered by any smoke from the fire.