Preparing for a disaster on the Thunder Mountain Line (w/photos, video)

June 19, 2013 

A call came across the scanners, at promptly 11 a.m. Wednesday, advising of a four-car trail derailment with multiple injuries along the Thunder Mountain Line between Horseshoe Bend and Emmett. Fortunately, the call was just a drill.

More than a dozen county and state agencies participated in the disaster training, including and emergency response agencies from both Gem County and Boise County.

“What I’m hoping to gain from the Sheriff’s department,” says Ben Roeber, Boise County sheriff, “is how do we work with the neighboring agencies? How do we handle an incident that quickly overwhelms our resources...and the logistics associated with that.”

IN PHOTO, Horseshoe Bend Rescue volunteers and Gem County EMS team up to transport actor Lucas McFarlin — compound fractured femur — to a waiting ambulance.

About 30 students from Centennial Job Corps played the injured passengers. “It was awesome,” says Logan Voller, a CNA student who had a fake gruesome injury. “The entire time was a learning experience....I’d recommend volunteering for stuff like this for anyone.”

Mitch Harris, director of safe operating practice for Idaho Northern and Pacific Railway, is quick to point out that the Thunder Mountain train has never derailed. But, he says, “We take the approach that if we’re prepared, we’re prepared. If we’re not, we’re not.”

Roeber agreed.

“In the first responder world, training never stops. We’re always looking for something to train on," he said.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service