Ohio ranks fifth in the nation for vehicle - train crashes, many of them in the southwestern part of the state. That's why Ohio Operation Life Saver and nearly 20 local agencies teamed up to stage a mock train - truck collision in Springdale on Thursday. The scene looked as real and tragic as anyone could imagine. A semi-truck and CSX freight train were mangled together on a set of railroad tracks. A driver and passenger were trapped inside clinging to life, and an engineer in the train was suffering from a heart attack. Fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, and an Air Care helicopter arrived at the scene, and crews had to act quickly to get the victims out of the heap of metal to save their lives. The training exercise took less than a half hour, and all those involved rated it a success.
"It is very crucial to train our emergency responders so they can move safely, effectively, and efficiently around a locomotive and it's equipment because if they're safe, that means they can do their job safely. If they get hurt, that compounds the situation," says Shel Senek with Ohio Life Saver.
Another purpose to the event is to raise public awareness of the danger. Senek says drivers should never try to beat a train across the tracks. Drivers are forty times more likely to die in a crash with a train than with another car on the road.