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Safety Drill Prepares Crews for Emergencies

IMG 0598Last month emergency responders throughout the region from Santa Fe to Belen, had an opportunity to respond to a “Real Time” emergency aboard the New Mexico Rail Runner Express.

A full scale emergency preparedness exercise was set up to allow members from area law enforcement, fire, and rescue agencies to test their skills in the event of a true railway disaster.

“This was our fifth full scale exercise”, says Dewey Cave, Executive Director for the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “Responders practiced their skills with everything from how to deal with multiple injuries to evacuating passengers through train windows. It’s very useful, especially when you consider the fact that the train travels through a 100-mile corridor right in the heart of New Mexico…20-times a day.”

More than 50 emergency responders from various agencies throughout the corridor were involved in June’s Full Scale Exercise. There were also be 35 train “volunteer victims” involved in the simulated event – all of them regular Rail Runner riders.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of these disaster trainings”, says Stephanie Paiz, Safety Coordinator, NM Rail Runner Express. “In addition to ensuring that local emergency responders are familiar with the train in an event of an incident, these exercises are also useful when it comes to familiarizing ourselves with all of the other first responders in the corridor with whom we may end up working side by side in a critical situation.”

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