Excavating a tunnel is dangerous business. Skilled miners put their lives at risk every time they go underground, in conditions that may expose them to grounds that cave in, flammable gasses and groundwater that might pour in and flood the tunnel. Protecting the safety of our workers is the top priority of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and Southland Tutor Perini Joint Venture (STP). Should the unthinkable happen and miners need a rescue the Tunnel Rescue Team is ready at a moment’s notice.
Tunnel Rescue Team members are highly trained specialized tunnelers who put themselves directly in harm’s way to come to the aid of their colleagues. They are trained to enter a tunnel under hazardous conditions that would prohibit most people from entering to provide first aid, extract personnel, or put out fires.
At the New Irvington Tunnel (NIT), the Tunnel Rescue Team is a 13-member team on-call 24 hours-a-day 7 days-a-week. A back up tunnel rescue team from the Caldecott Tunnel Project is also available. First responders from CalFire and the Alameda County and Fremont Fire Departments support the Tunnel Rescue Team above ground.
The Tunnel Rescue Team practices and drills regularly to ensure their skills are ready when needed. We sincerely hope that their services will never be needed. But if they are, the NIT team invests time each day to be sure we are ready to protect the lives of the workers who are helping to ensure a reliable water supply for all of us.