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Treasure Coast first responders train for Florida East Coast Railway emergencies

Posted at 7:24 PM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 19:24:25-04

Back in April, fire chiefs on the Treasure Coast sent a letter to the governor, concerned over the lack of training to prepare for materials transported on their railways. 

On Wednesday, they got a crash course on the hazards they could potentially face.

What these first responders are learned could one day save lives. 
“These are giant generators rolling down the rails,” says Captain Daniel Mikels with St. Lucie County Fire District. “So, there's lots of hazards and lots of unknowns that go with these things.” 
Agencies across the Treasure Coast this week will learn the ins and outs of the Florida East Coast railway, the products they haul and the dangers they pose. 

That includes Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) - which is emerging as the preferred fuel source for trains traveling through our area. 
“This training is important because we don't get an opportunity that often to get hands on training,” says SLCFD Training Captain Sandra Chambers.
Rod Keefe with Florida East Coast says a good portion of that training included classroom instruction. 
However, first responders were also able to get some hands on training at what they may be dealing with one day. 
The aim is to create a sense of familiarity, just in case things go horribly wrong. 
“The last thing you want to do is have the emergency responders see a critical situation for the first time and not know what to do,” Keefe says.

First responders say the training made an impact.
“Any help that we can get from subject matter can't beat that type of stuff,” Captain Mikels says.

The training wraps up on Thursday.