Emergency and Law Enforcement Staff Prep for Train Derailment

By Paige Browning

Train derailments are not common in Spokane- the last major one happened in 1991. But in preparation for the worst, emergency managers did an exercise Monday to practice responding to a train derailment that involves hazardous materials.
 
Spokane County’s Department of Emergency Management, which is directed by County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, hosted the workshop. Agencies ranging from the Union Pacific Railway to the Spokane Valley Fire Department took part, as did Spokane Mayor David Condon. He says the county has emergency response plans, including for derailments.
 
Condon: “Many of the plans and procedures are available for the public to see and all of us to see on the emergency management’s website, but we always have to do that training, reevaluate other commodities or higher levels of other commodities now being on our railways.”
 
The northwest is seeing an influx of trains carrying crude oil and coal, and the number of shipments is expected to pick up in the next decade.
 
At the train derailment exercise, officials were trained on evacuation, firefighting, containing any hazardous materials, and protecting the Spokane River.
 
Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio
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