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Mock train derailment gives N.S. first responders hands on training

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Mock train derailment gives N.S. first responders hands on training
A mock train derailment in Truro, Nova Scotia Wednesday gave first responders hands on training in dealing with major disasters. – Oct 5, 2016

It was a chaotic scene in Truro, N.S., Wednesday morning — people screaming, scattered on the ground, appearing in need of help — exactly what first responders wanted for their large-scale disaster simulation.

The scenario — a passenger train has derailed in the town and there are mass casualties.

READ MORE: Mock train disaster at NB school emphasizes safety around railway crossings

“Thankfully, these are not situations that happen all the time and this is not a situation where you do the same thing you do daily, just faster,” said Jim MacDougall, manager of planning, exercises and training with the Nova Scotia Department of Health & Wellness.

“This requires a higher level of organization and coordination, so it is very important that we take the time to practice this in case we have to use it for real,” MacDougall said.

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The goal of the exercise is to test Nova Scotia’s health system response for a major disaster — like a train crash. Officials say it’s an extremely important training exercise.

“Basically what we’re training for is that if we have something like this, we all know how to work together, we get the bugs out, we make sure we have communications, we make sure we have the right response,” said Inspector Robert Hearn from the Truro Police Service.

FULL STORY: First responders get major disaster training in Truro, N.S. Global’s Natasha Pace reports.

Click to play video: 'Mock train derailment gives NS first responders hands on training'
Mock train derailment gives NS first responders hands on training

The exercise allows all types of first responders to practice their skills, manage resources and learn to work more effectively with other organizations.

In Wednesday’s mock train crash there were 100 casualties, all with different types of injuries.

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“The military did a fantastic job putting makeup on our victims. The students at the NSCC are doing an excellent job. They’re obviously getting involved in the exercise,” Hearn said.

“You can hear people crying out. You can hear people in shock who are asking for things and we only have so much resources, so they have to triage them, find out who needs to go to the hospital right away, who can wait.”

The injuries are made to look as real as possible to aid in the training.

This type of exercise takes place annually. The next one will happen in Cape Breton in 2017.

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