VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WAWV/WTWO) — Emergency Management Director explains Vigo County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan (MHMP) in light of the recent train derailment in New Palestine, OH.
Keith Holbert, Director of Operations of Vigo County Emergency Managment (EMA) spoke about the MHMP, “In my mind, it’s not really a plan, it’s a historical document. It tells you what has happened in the past.”
Holbert said that while the MHMP does not speak specifically about hazards that exist in the area, it does not tell them how to handle the situation. He explained that it doesn’t come out and say, ‘that if a train derailed in Vigo County, here is what to do.’
“Most fire departments have a plan as to how to attack something like that. Law enforcement knows how to cordon off the area,” Holbert said.
Holbert explained that this document (MHMP) is beneficial to fire departments, law enforcement, EMS and government. He said it helps them better understand what hazards exist in the area and to be prepared to deal with those threats.
While the MHMP does not give EMA specific instructions on how to handle specific disasters, like train derailments, it does take into account the trains that make their way through the county.
“It does list on there that we have the two railroads (CSX and Indiana Railroad) that we do have in this area and what their normal routes are and things like that. Again, it doesn’t tell us how to deal with them…but as far as train derailments go, they’re (the railroads) are going to know really quick,” Holbert added.
Holbert explained that EMA’s responsibility in an event similar to the derailment in East Palestine, OH is primarily to support the responding agencies.
“Our jobs mainly going to be resource management, we’ll help them anyway we can. But that’s going to be our primary task, getting them more resources if needed.
Holbert explained that locally, both CSX and Indiana Railroad would have their own mitigation plan in the event of one of their trains derailing. He said it would be the responsibility of the railroads in the cleanup efforts.