Training for Rail Disasters

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

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.


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  • by Seth Location: Ellisville.MS on Dec 14, 2009 at 01:20 PM
    To whom this may concern, my name is Seth howell, and i am interested in taking this training for this particular class. I am a volunteer firefighter/first responder for the South Jones volunteer fire department, here where i live in Ellisville, Ms. I also am a sophomore at Jones County Junior College here in ellisville, going through Emt basic and also paramedic school. My passion is about helping others in need when a crisis happens. I am thouroughly interested in this training, and would like for you to get in touch with me at the email address above, or you can reach me at 6015801631. I would also like to know what the date is for this training, and how much it may cost me. and where it is located. I would appreciate for you to get back in touch with me ASAP, as i am interested in taking this training and would like to get involved with this. I hope to talk to you soon, as regards to this training. Thank you. Sincerely, Seth Howell
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