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Emergency responders train for railroad incidents

When emergency situations arise on trains, seconds count. That's why emergency personnel go through training to know exactly how to respond.

Posted: May. 16, 2018 5:33 PM
Updated: May. 17, 2018 10:00 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- When emergency situations arise on trains, seconds count. That's why emergency personnel go through training to know exactly how to respond.

These incidents include derailments, crashes with other vehicles, or HAZMAT situations. It doesn't happen often in our area, but John Lerner, the hazardous materials compliance officer for Norfolk Southern, said everyone should be prepared.

"You just have to watch the evening news and you'll see incidents throughout the nation that happen every day," Lerner said.

Crews are taught about the mechanics of the train, and what their first steps should be when they get to the scene.

"It's an overall safety response class. How to respond safely onto railroad property and who they need to contact to get the proper information that they're looking for," Lerner said.

If a medical emergency arises on a train, there's not a lot of room to go through with a stretcher. That means they may have to call in additional crew members.

"That's very beneficial training because I never thought of that before, but any EMS style, first responder response, trying to get them off the train would be quite a challenge," said Nathan Springer with the Portland Police Department.

If the situation is a fire, cars carrying hazardous or flammable materials can make it even more dangerous, but with training for every department involved, the hope is the incident will be under control quickly and safely.

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