It sounds like the beginning of a formula cop drama on prime-time TV: the phones at the emergency call center start ringing like crazy. “We’ve crashed, we’ve crashed! There’s people hurt, we’re on the train! I don’t know where we are!”
Fortunately, when emergency dispatchers started receiving the calls Tuesday night, it was only a simulated emergency, a drill, to test Capital Metro’s and area first responders’ preparedness in the event of an actual emergency involving a MetroRail train.
Interim Manager of Security John Jones, a retired sergeant with the Austin Police Department, had meticulously planned the drill with first responders from about six jurisdictions, as well as two federal agencies, Homeland Security and the Federal Railroad Administration, over the past several months.
Twenty-one Capital Metro staff and some community volunteers (including MetroAmbassadors) served as mock passengers and victims, some with pre-determined injuries.
The gist of the drill for the responders was to locate the train (the mock accident occurred at night, in a remote section of track), establish the coordination of resources (who’s in charge?), and then mobilize the equipment needed to access the train and the passengers inside. Finally, of course, the responders would need to evacuate and treat the “victims”.
So what did we learn? Continue reading “This is only a drill!”