D.C. metro holds derailment response drill over Potomac

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A simulated derailment response drill was held in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, giving the city’s transit officials a chance to review where they stand in emergency preparation. Nathan Frandino reports.

D.C. metro holds derailment response drill over Potomac

Smoke billowed from a metro train on the Potomac River on Sunday, but fortunately, it was just a drill.

“Attention all personnel, this is an exercise. At this time, we have a derailment, track number two on the yellow line bridge.”

Still, firefighters, police and first responders jumped into action, as if it were real.

Ron Pavlik is chief of the Metro Transit Police Department.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) RON PAVLIK, CHIEF OF METRO TRANSIT POLICE DEPARTMENT, SAYING:

“This is all about metro preparedness. So how do we respond as a region but also how do we respond internally as metro? When we have critical incidents, how do we respond? How do we react? How do we keep our customers engaged, our employees engaged? It’s really about WMATA, but also in the region, how we handle critical incidents.”

With the train stuck in position, firefighters and others walked across the bridge and rescued about 65 volunteers — some of whom were playing injured passengers.

The drill comes as metro undergoes a major overhaul to improve safety and reliability.

A task that one rescued passenger says she’s confident metro can complete.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LAJUAN TRAVERS, RESIDENT OF BOWIE, MARYLAND, SAYING:

“Well after this operation, I feel relieved. I feel safe for anything that would happen unfortunately. I feel that they’re able to stand up to the challenge and do the right thing, get people off safely to the hospitals and (give) the emergency assistance that we need.”

Comfort for the kind of assistance she hopes she will never need.

Tags : Potomac, over, drill, response, Derailment, holds, metro, Dc

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