Smoke without fire

Members of the CERN Management recently visited the LHC mock-up at the Safety Training Centre on the Prévessin site. They experienced a realistic emergency simulation, complete with smoke generators and safety alarms.


Simulated helium leak in the LHC mock-up, at the Safety Training Centre on the Prévessin site.

Since 2013, the Prévessin Safety Training Centre has been equipped with an LHC tunnel mock-up around 40 m long, where the working and safety conditions faced in the tunnel can be replicated. Throughout the year, this life-size mock-up plays host to numerous CERN and external contractors’ personnel for certain safety training courses, including in particular the ‘Self-Rescue Mask’ and ‘Radiation Protection – Controlled Area’ courses. The CERN firefighters also use it as part of their continuous on-the-job training.

The safety course held on 26 May welcomed VIP participants: Rolf Heuer (Director-General), Sigurd Lettow (Director for Administration and General Infrastructure), Sergio Bertolucci (Director for Research and Computing) and Frédérick Bordry (Director for Accelerators and Technology) were all there, accompanied by, amongst others, Doris Forkel-Wirth (Radiation Protection Group Leader), Gianni Deroma (Fire and Rescue Service Group Leader) and Christophe Delamare (GS-ASE Group Leader). They all had the chance to see and try out the mock-up during an official visit to the Prévessin Safety Training Centre. Under the watchful eye of Gilles Colin, an instructor and firefighter, and Christoph Balle, the Safety Training Section Leader, they experienced a “hazardous” situation: a (simulated) ruptured valve leading to a (simulated) helium leak, recreated using pressurised smoke generators. Emergency situations that could occur in the accelerator tunnel can be reproduced very faithfully in the training centre’s mock-up, which is equipped with the same safety systems as the real tunnel – rotating lights, evacuation alarms, information signs, access doors, etc. – and this realism helps people to develop good safety reflexes.

by Anaïs Schaeffer