All Hazards Train Derailment Exercise

Rockville Train Derailment Exercises

CHHS conducted two exercises on June 20, 2013: one functional and one full-scale, centered around the fictional derailment of a train carrying hazardous materials in Rockville, Md. The functional exercise helped Montgomery County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security test response capabilities within the county, while the full-scale included medical surge evaluations for ten area hospitals in the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems’ Region V.

Each hospital experienced individualized injects to test skills that management identified as areas for improvement – ranging from an influx of patients, to emergency rooms that required decontamination, to addressing media calls for updates on the mass casualty. At the county’s emergency management office, participants practiced their roles in the activated Emergency Operations Center, including mapping the potential radius of evacuation and related communications to residents should hazardous materials be involved. In addition to developing the exercise, CHHS staff served as evaluators to record and include in an after action report any areas for improvement that should be addressed by participants to better prepare for a real-world incident.

In Rosedale, Md. – 45 miles from Rockville – an actual crash and explosion of a train carrying potentially hazardous materials prompted voluntary evacuations just a month earlier. CHHS Exercise and Training staff, who were at the time in the midst of finalizing details for the Rockville scenario, immediately recognized the similarities and affirmed the serious nature of their work to prepare first responders.

This text is taken from the CHHS Fall 2013 Newsletter.

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