OIL TRAINS: Mass casualty exercise planned for May 18 in Roseville CA

By Roger Straw, May 13, 2016

PlacerCounty_logoPlacer County is planning a mass casualty training exercise related to oil train explosions on May 18th in Roseville, California.  The exercise will take place at PFE Road and Hilltop Circle in Roseville.

Union Pacific Railroad’s J.R. Davis Yard in Roseville is the the largest rail facility on the West Coast, and a major train staging area.  The Roseville Yard would be the location for receiving and dispatching crude oil trains in Northern California if approved by Benicia’s City Council.

A few alert citizens from Roseville have written letters and attended hearings in Benicia to oppose Valero’s dangerous and dirty crude by rail proposal.  Perhaps this training exercise (from 7AM to 1PM on May 18) will be another wake up call for the people of Roseville to the danger of transporting crude by rail to Benicia.

Repost from County of Placer

Mass casualty exercise planned for May 18 in Roseville

Low flying helicopters, scores of first responders, various emergency vehicles, sirens and other loud noises, and dozens of people made up to look like accident victims can be expected in Roseville May 18, as firefighters and law enforcement officers from throughout Placer County will team up to practice and ensure preparedness for a mass casualty incident.

Placer County’s Office of Emergency Services is holding the training exercise to give first responders from various agencies the opportunity to practice working together and test how well they can come together in a crisis. It is also a great chance to test the county’s recently finalized oil-by-rail response guide, which was developed to aid our first responder fire and law enforcement community and specialized response teams in the unlikely event an oil train disaster were to occur here.

“We want to get the word out now to as many people as possible about this exercise to avoid causing any panic on the day of the drill,” said John McEldowney, program manager for Placer County Office of Emergency Services. “The opportunity for all of these various groups to get hands-on experience in a safe but realistic-as-possible practice setting is crucial to making sure we are ready for whatever disasters come our way. But that does, unfortunately, come with some disturbance to the neighborhood.”

Anyone in the area of PFE Road and Hilltop Circle in Roseville between the hours of 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. can expect to see a significant amount of activity that could appear very realistic, including a simulated train accident, a simulated hazardous materials spill, many accident ‘victims’ made up to appear injured, and helicopters transporting people to hospitals. People are encouraged to avoid this area, if at all possible, due to the large volume of emergency vehicles responding to this area for the exercise.

“We also hope that anyone who lives, works or plays in Placer County will take this opportunity to register for our Placer Alert system,” McEldowney added. “Placer Alert will notify you by either a phone call, text or email – whatever your preference is – in the case of an actual emergency.”

To register for the Placer Alert system, go to www.placer-alert.org .

Aerial view of Roseville
An aerial view of the location where the exercise will take place at PFE Road and Hilltop Circle in Roseville. (Placer County photo/Erik Bergen)