How FoCo Responds to Train Derailment

Train derailed on tracks
Derailed Train – Google Images

What would the impact be to Fort Collins residents if a train derailed in the city — especially a train carrying toxic material?

This question was posed by reader Christine Beigert via #NoCoAsk, a newsroom project that allows readers to submit questions and vote for their favorite story ideas. Fifty-five percent of voters selected her question.

Here is what you need to know.

If a train leaves the tracks in Fort Collins, which on average happens about once a year, the derailment would be met by a swift set of reactions. Let’s say a train has derailed on Mason Street in downtown Fort Collins.

Calls would be made to 911. Dispatchers would field the calls and type “DERAIL” into their computer systems, signaling the resources that need to respond.

The first wave of responders would include an ambulance, two fire engines, two water trucks,a  safety officer, a battalion chief and the three hazardous material units from Poudre Fire Authority’s Station 10 in east Fort Collins — in all, more than 20 emergency responders.

Once at the scene, the incident commander could ask emergency dispatchers for a second alarm, sending another wave of responders.

If the train has been punctured or is on fire, responders would attend first to the people in the area, second to the spill or the blaze and third to the environmental cleanup. Their primary concern is what they call “life safety.”

If the fire is oil-fueled, a truck from Station 10, called Foam 10, would respond with its 300 gallons of foam to be mixed with water, which serves like a lid you throw over the grease fire in your kitchen.

If necessary, emergency notifications would be sent to people via cellphones, emails and media channels. Evacuation would depend on the product in question, the environment and the wind speed and direction, among other factors.


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Article Credits: Cassa Niedringhaus, Coloradoan