We have created a BMU which was built to simulate emergency situations at the renewed Fire Services Training School (FSTS) for the Hong Kong Fire Services Department. The FSTS provides training and education for Hong Kong’s fire services and ambulance personnel, both to new recruits and to currently employed staff.

The new state-of-the-art training school, designed by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners, facilitates the simulation of different types of large-scale emergencies, most notably including aircraft incidents and marine incidents. Of course, a complex that includes some of the most advanced fire training facilities in the world would not be complete without a solution that allows firemen to practice rescue operations at great heights.

Rescue operations at great height

Hong Kong is home to some of the tallest buildings in the world, which means that window cleaners or maintenance workers often work at soaring heights. In cases of equipment failure, they could be trapped inside a gondola or platform that is suspended in front of a facade.

The rescue of workers inside a gondola at great heights is a very dangerous operation. Therefore, firemen need to be able to practice such rescue operations in the most realistic conditions.

In 2014, over ten years ago, Facadexs had already provided a BMU for the FSTS, for maintenance purposes. As the only company that is capable of such extreme customizations, we were approached again to design a solution for the training of rescue operations at great heights.

Our Solution

For this purpose, a fixed roof car will be installed on the roof of the training center, at a height of approximately 35 meters (115 feet). This roof car has the ability to tilt the gondola up to 60 degrees, so that trainees can practice the evacuation of workers inside the gondola in case of emergency.

This unique solution makes it possible to create a controlled accident situation, in order to improve the success rate of rescue operations in an actual life-or-death situation.

From normal position to the tilt position of 60 degrees

Cooperation with our partner

We were happy to take on this project with JEC, one of our trusted partners in Asia. We have worked together for a long time and have completed several successful projects in the past, including a BMU for the FSTS back in 2014 (for actual maintenance purposes).

For us, the requirements of our client are always the starting point – and the development of a BMU exclusively for rescue training purposes requires a whole new approach.

As an expert in facade access equipment, we are always looking for new challenges to protect the lives of those working at height. Because of this reputation, we were the first choice for this challenging project.

Increasing need for specialized training

As the number of high rise buildings and the complexity of their facades increases, the demand for facade access equipment needed for maintaining purposes rises. Because of that, more and more BMUs are installed and used daily.

Although BMUs are designed, built and operated as required by strict standards, the chance of technical or mechanical malfunctions occurring still exists. Possible causes could be deferred maintenance, improper use of the machine or human errors. Along with the increase of the number of BMUs, emergency situations with gondolas are more likely to occur, putting more workers in danger.

Minimizing risks with training

We believe that the BRS is a valuable addition for each rescue worker/firefighter training facility. Saving workers who are trapped inside a (tilted) cradle isn’t everyday business and the circumstances of a rescue operation are risky: the cradle provides an unstable surface, possibly suspended on just one wire rope at great heights.

Therefore, rescue workers need to be very cautious in their approach in order to get the person(s) inside the cradle back to safety. To be able to provide such adequate rescue operations for specific cradle related emergency situations, proper training is needed.

With the unique BMU Rescue Simulator, specialized training can be provided, which makes sure rescue workers and firefighters can act adequately and swiftly in real life rescue operations at great height. This will minimize the risks for both the rescue workers and those who are in need during a rescue operation.

Controlled emergency situation at the Hong Kong Fire Department

At the Fire Services Training School, a state-of-the-art training center where large-scale emergency situations can be simulated, the BRS was placed to meet the growing demand for training in these types of rescue operations. It proved to be a welcome addition to the existing training possibilities.

Project reference video

In essence, the BRS is designed as a building maintenance unit just like all others: a roof car with all the functionalities a standard BMU has.

The BRS however, has unique features which enables it to recreate an emergency situation. The cradle can be tilted to an angle of up to 60 degrees while it hangs suspended in the air. This simulates a situation where the wire rope on one side of the cradle has broken, providing a perfect and realistic situation for a specialized rescue training.

The process of tilting the cradle is manual and fully controlled by an operator. Furthermore, the actual tilting goes very slowly, as shown in the video below.

See in the video what our rescue training BMU can do