Military & Civilian Emergency Workers Test Their Skills - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/12/03

Military & Civilian Emergency Workers Test Their Skills

It's the nightmare we all hope never happens, but take a moment to imagine this scenario. A train carrying hazardous materials collides with a car. The consequences could be catastrophic. The people who pledged to protect and serve want to be ready in case of such a disaster.

On Thursday, Keesler Air Force Base and the City of Biloxi held a drill involving a mock car train accident. Only minutes after the call firefighters race to the scene of a train-car accident.

"Before anybody approaches that train right there, I need to know what's in it," called out a Biloxi firefighter.

To be sure exactly what they're dealing with took time. The first responders soon realize people are dead. Since the accident is on White Avenue, Keesler and Biloxi firefighters had to work together and communication is key.

Biloxi Captain Edward Hornsby said "The challenge is to keep things organized, keep personnel in place at times to decipher information. Sometimes information between the two agencies is a little bit different, so you have to keep everybody abreast."

Keesler Air Force Base holds drills like this every year. Everyone here knows there's a chance that one day this scene could be real.

Captain Morshe Araujo works with the bases public affairs office.

"We have the trains that go through this area daily and there is always that possibility that a train accident could occur. So how we respond and how we train to that possibility could mean a lot as far as people's lives are concerned."

The mission is to make sure military and civilian emergency crews get the job done. Keesler Air Force Base officials say they will compile a critique of Thursday's exercise after getting input from all the agencies involved.

by Danielle Thomas

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