Anyone who has ever taken a trip on a passenger train is always hopeful that all will go smoothly. Usually it does, but derailments do happen.
The City of Meridian's Department of Homeland Security is hosting a class to teach emergency responders to safely handle passenger train crashes.
The students are in Meridian from Pensacola, New Orleans, and Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Some Meridian firefighters are also taking part in this class.
"This is basically just a large scale extrication where we take these students and run them through here," said lead instructor Doug Stephens. "They need to understand the dangers and the hazards involved with dealing with these passenger trains."
In this exercise, emergency responders are applying what they've learned in the classroom. They have to find and safely remove victims from a simulated train crash.
John Taylor is a district fire chief for the Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana Fire Department. He is in Meridian to evaluate the training program. So far, he's impressed.
"This instruction is very invaluable. The on-hands, you can't touch it anywhere else in the country," said Taylor.
Taylor says he wants to get more people from his agency involved in these training exercises because it's knowledge they may have to use.
"We run a fire-based EMS with about 110 employees that run advanced-level EMS. Within 25 miles either side of our fire district is a main thoroughfare for Amtrak," Stephens said.
This training exercise also teaches participants to work together with other agencies involved in search and rescue missions.