This is (not) an Emergency

“This is MetroRail #104. I just had a collision with a car at the Metro Drive crossing, and people are injured.” That’s more or less what one of our train engineers will say when he or she contacts rail dispatchers on Thursday morning around 10 o’clock. Fortunately, this is just a test. Capital Metro will stage a rail emergency drill at the crossing by the entrance to the Leander station.

It’ll be a great opportunity for Capital Metro and the first responders to practice coordinated emergency procedures in a “live” situation. We’ll try to make this as realistic as possible. Here’s the scenario: a car speeds through a railroad crossing and is struck by a train. The engineer notifies dispatch, then the dispatcher calls 9-1-1. There will be mock victims with a varying level of injuries and perhaps a few other surprises that we won’t mention ahead of time since you don’t get that kind of advanced warning in a real emergency.

Following the rescue efforts, there will be a debriefing to critique the operation. You can spend years preparing for emergencies—and believe me, we have— but you never know for sure what will happen if and when you ever have to put those plans into action.

Capital Metro meets regularly with the various police, fire and other emergency responders in the area to focus on rail safety and emergency preparedness. Thursday’s drill is just one part of the overall safety and emergency plan.

I wouldn’t want to post something about rail safety without also encouraging you to review these safety tips. I’m sure you’ve heard these things before. But despite the fact that it’s dangerous and illegal to walk on railroad tracks or drive around railroad gates, people still do it.

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