Local First Responders take part in rail disaster training

50 different agencies train for rail disaster

Local first responders are preparing for a worst case scenario on the railway.

La Crosse County and the city of La Crosse is teaming up with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and other state emergency officials for rail disaster training Wednesday. The hypothetical scenario they were given was a multiple car train derainment on the Mormon coulee road over pass on the south side of La Crosse.

The exercise focuses on community preparedness, response, and recovery to a hazardous materials rail incident.

“It has the potential to reach this level, but the reality is that not all of these come into to play at the same time. So while it sounds really bad and really catastrophic, that’s because we want to get everybody in play on this. We want to test all the capabilities that are out there,” said Brian Satula from Wisconsin Emergency Management.

During these types of training exercises first responders say public safety, infrastructure, and the environment all come into play.

“By no means do I think we could do this alone and that’s why there’s so many agencies, whether it’s at the local level, the state level, or the even at the federal government level that are all being brought here together to kind of work through the issues and see what kind of things we need help with, ” said Assistant Chief from the La Crosse Fire Department, Warren Thomas.

More than 50 different agencies were involved in the training.