Fire crews to practice Chichester Cathedral tower rescue

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service trainees will seek to beat their colleagues from East Sussex and raise money for charity
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service trainees will seek to beat their colleagues from East Sussex and raise money for charity

Firefighters will be practicing how conduct a rescue at Chichester Cathedral’s bell tower next Wednesday, September 14.

The training exercise is to ensure organisations would be able to work together if anyone was ever injured on the upper levels of the 120ft tower.

The tower’s upper levels, built in the late 14th or early 15th century, are closed to the public but accessed via a narrow stone spiral staircase at least twice a week when the bells are rung.

Next week’s exercise will test how fire crews and the WSFRS Technical Rescue Unit would help ambulance crews safely evacuate an injured casualty from upper section.

Organiser James Trotman, a resilience and emergencies advisor, said: “This is a great opportunity for the Cathedral and West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service to work together to ensure we could quickly bring any injured party safely back down to the ground.

“It’s a fabulous structure but access is very difficult, particularly where the stone staircase becomes more and more narrow towards the top.

“We want to involve as many of our teams as possible so we are likely to have a fairly visible presence on the day.

“We want to reassure visitors there is nothing to be alarmed about and we will work to ensure our exercise causes as little disruption as possible.”

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