It seems that it has become a regular event when it comes to train derailments across our nation. The toxic derailment in Palestine, Ohio, in February of 2023, seems to have triggered various derailments that have varied in the degree of hazard to the surrounding communities along the rails. 

The Battle Creek Fire Department recently posted its readiness to respond to a local derailment, on the City of Battle Creek’s City Blog, and the firefighters look prepared to take on a hazardous situation, should ever such an event arise.  

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The response to a 911 train derailment call begins with an evaluation of just how serious the event is. Other fire crews and first responders will be alerted as needed.  

The Battle Creek Fire Department will assess if the train is carrying hazardous materials and request the train’s Hazardous Goods Manifest to understand what the train was carrying. 

Battle Creek firefighters enter a hazardous situation.
Battle Creek Fire Department

Depending on the level of need, they would call in resources from regional, state, or federal partners, and then an Emergency Operations Center would be activated. 

Other than Amtrak, Canadian National is the rail company responsible for most of the tracks in Battle Creek. However, Norfolk Southern, the rail carrier that derailed in Palestine, Ohio, also can run trains on those tracks. 

The Battle Creek Fire Department Haz-Mat Team has trained on emergency scenarios with the outreach program, Transportation Community Awareness Emergency Response (TRANSCAER), and at the Specialized Emergency Response Training Center, in Pueblo, Colorado. 

The Battle Creek Fire Department Haz-Mat team trains for a potential train derailment.
Battle Creek Fire Department

Being a part of a statewide mutual aid system, BCFD has access to other communities' fire department resources in the event of a large, major incident.  

BCFD assures the community that, whatever the situation, their emergency, and hazardous materials teams are well-trained and ready to respond. 

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