JASONVILLE, Ind. (WTHI) - Being stuck on the railroad tracks as a train is approaching is a nightmare for many drivers.
However, drivers aren't the only ones who fear a major accident. It's something no emergency worker ever wants to experience.
It's 6:00 a.m. and pitch black. Visibility is at a minimum and driving is dangerous. All of a sudden, you hear the sound of a train.
It's a noise that can send shivers down your spine, especially if you're trapped on the rails.
This scenario is just as scary for emergency response crews and railroad personnel; and it's the reason Greene County officials decided to hold a mock accident.
"Knowing what they're doing, knowing what we're doing, it just comes in together," said Linton Fire Chief Brad Sparks. "Knowing what other vehicle or extraction equipment you have available in the areas and other departments that are responding, and just getting everyone on the same page."
Putting on an accident of these proportions took months of planning, all leading up to a crash that only takes a few seconds.
"In the past, we've done disaster drills where you sit around a conference table and play out the scenario," said Eric Powell. "Doing something like this where you have a vehicle involved in a collision with a train. It's been a long time since we've done this and it's very important."
However, the accident was more than a collision. With victims spread out, crews were forced to react in real-time.
"I was concerned about getting all the patients transported out and moved out, but i think it went real well; it went better than we expected," said Sparks.
A mock accident like this actually serves two purposes. One, it helps emergency personnel in knowing how to deal with these types of incidents, and two, it helps the railroad, whose number one priority is safety.
"For many years, railroading was a very dangerous occupation," said Powell. "These days, statistically in 2010, you were more likely to get injured on the job at a grocery store than you would on a railroad. That tells you how truly safe railroads have become."
Safer because of training like this.
Hoping that no catastrophe will ever happen, but if it does, they'll be ready.
"I'm sure they'll be ways that we can improve, both on the emergency management side and on the railroad side, but i think everyone is pretty happy walking away from here," said Powell.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are about 5,800 vehicle train accidents each year in the United States.
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