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Laramie Conducts Emergency Drill [PHOTOS]

Trevor T. Trujillo, Townsquare Media

A train derailment with a gas cloud blowing into west Laramie.  Evacuations were made and personnel were brought in to attempt to stop the leak of deadly chlorine gas.  Luckily, it was only a drill.

The emergency disaster drill was held in the Union Pacific Train yard, near the intersection

The “Safety Train” car doubles as a classroom inside.  (Trevor T. Trujillo, Townsquare Media)

of 1st and Freemont streets in Laramie.  It was there that observers would have seen a large rail car, not unlike a tanker car, but bright yellow and with several couplings on top.  This is a “Safety Train” training car used for emergency drills, it’s one of two of its kind in the west.  Aside  from the nine training couplings on top, the inside of the car is actually facilitated with a classroom, where trainees can get a better understanding of the inner-workings of a tanker car.

Although there was no real disaster, thus no real danger to the community, the scenario under which the drill was being held, was that a train car carrying chlorine had derailed and begun leaking dangerous fluids and gasses.  Emergency crews were scrambled to the scene including representatives from Laramie Fire Department, Laramie Police Department, UW Police Department, Union Pacific Police, the 81st Civil Support Team and the Albany County Sheriff’s office.

“The fire department arrived on scene and evaluated the situation.  Identified the gas that was leaking, determined it was a chlorine leak,” says Jessica Carrington, Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator, who further emphasized that the leak was a simulation.  “Emergency crews began the process of patching the car, setting up incident command first, evacuating as needed and finally patching the car itself.”

Carrington went on to say that the exercises were a “prepare for the worst, but hope for the best” situation.  “You fight like you train,” she says.  “So we want to get people out here and on the car, training in a real-life situation as much as possible.  Make them think about all the things that come up in a real-life situation.”

Overall, Carrington said that she was very pleased with the exercise, saying that things couldn’t have gone better.


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