Drill, wreck teach new lessons

Published 9:01 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2007

By Staff
It's the kind of scenario we could never expect to happen in Escambia County - a train wreck and toxic spill combined with the hijacking of a tour bus.
But it &#8220happened” in Flomaton last week as emergency crews, firefighters and police officers from across the county participated in a drill to test them on such emergency scenarios.
Ironically, the drill came just two days after a train jumped the tracks near downtown Castleberry, spilling toxic chemicals and forcing the evacuation of part of the community for several days.
Officials in both situations acted quickly and carefully.
In Castleberry, officials were on the scene in minutes, called in the necessary backup and made quick decisions about evacuations and safety precautions.
In the Escambia County drill, although technically there was less at stake, emergency responders took the scenario seriously as a way to test their abilities and communication efforts.
Most likely the groups in both situations learned from the experiences. In the Flomaton exercise, for example, emergency responders said they learned that they work well with members of other law enforcement departments, but that they need to improve their communications equipment.
We hope that we never have to experience a disaster quite as complicated and drastic as the one in the drill, but it's good to know that in a real situation, our emergency responders and law enforcement are quite capable of keeping us safe.

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