Santa Monica Firefighters got some first hand experience with potential Expo rescues on Jan. 26 thanks to a simulated emergency drill.
Rescuers pulled a dummy from beneath the train that was part of a simulated accident with potential passengers pinned beneath the rail cars. Firefighters utilized specialized rods to lift a rail car several inches off the ground as part of the drill.
The training is part of an ongoing effort by local public safety agencies and Metro to prepare for the arrival of train service.
“We do these emergency drills along Metro because our system passes through so many jurisdictions and cities,” said Anna Chen, a Public Information Officer with Metro.
She said some drills are mandated by state agencies but her organization also customizes training based on the needs and requests of partner agencies. In Santa Monica, she said it was particularly important to provide training opportunities as the city has been without rail service for so long.
“This is the first time passenger rail is back there in 50 years,” she said. “There’s a little getting used to protocols or things people aren’t used to dealing with.”
Chen said there’s value to training as team because in the event of an actual emergency, everyone on site needs to be familiar with the roles and requirements of emergency response.
Santa Monica firefighters have been training for Expo related situations for months.
“The Santa Monica Fire Department strives to prepare for potential emergencies, and educate the public on the dangers the rail line poses to automobiles and pedestrians,” said the department in a statement.
The training has already proved useful. A large truck struck a test train last year knocking the train several feet from the track.
The Santa Monica Police Department will host a public meeting to discuss Expo safety tonight, Jan. 27, at the Main Library, MLK Auditorium from 7 – 8 p.m.