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Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Emergency We Do Need To Prepare For

What would Columbia City, New Haven or Fort Wayne Do?
Lessons learned from 2004 rail disaster in South Carolina.

Last Sunday, the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette asked local emergency officials what evacuation plans exist for Allen County. Good questions.

But the most likely disaster scenario for many communities in northeastern Indiana is a rail collision or derailment that causes a toxic chemical spill or a toxic chemical cloud. Norfolk Southern and CSX operate major rail lines through the area. Norfolk Southern has a major yard and offices in New Haven. There are numerous short line railroads.

Today's Virginian-Pilot has a story today by Georgina Stark that talks about the emergency response to last year's rail collision in Graniteville, South Carolina that left nine people dead and another 500 requiring medical care. There was a seminar held yesterday in Norfolk, Virginia that examined what happened, how the response occured, and what others should do who face similar circumstances in the future.

This was a Norfolk Southern rail accident. It was the second worst rail disaster in U.S. history. Presenters yesterday at the seminar included representives of the company. Perhaps this seminar ought to be repeated in Fort Wayne or New Haven or somewhere in northeast Indiana...soon.

Thom Berry of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control was one of the presenters. According to the story by Stark, he urged those at the seminar to “awfulize.”
“Imagine the most awful things that could happen, and know it can get worse.”
More: Listing of train derailments 2000-2005

More: TRIB cites Indiana Parley

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