Fatal train derailment could impact Spokane emergency response plans

Fatal train derailment could impact...

SPOKANE, Wash. - First responders in Eastern Washington hope they can learn something from the fatal Amtrak derailment Monday morning near DuPont.

Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said members of the department will head west to learn more about how responders handled the tragedy. The goal is to reflect on the local emergency response plan and make changes if necessary. 

"After most of these tragedies that occur in the Pacific Northwest, we usually send people from staff or leadership to the communities to learn what we can and bring that back home, put those scenarios to our plans and see how the plans react to those scenarios," Schaeffer said. 

Schaeffer explained that the Spokane area has an existing extensive and well-connected system between all emergency services so each agency can turn to a shared response plan during a crisis. The fire chief said responders practice the plan as often as possible. He said the procedures act as a playbook to connect all resources to make sure everyone can work together during an accident. 

"We're all able to communicate and be a part of the solution instead of trying to figure that stuff out at 7:30 in I-5 traffic when you have people who are really relying on you to save their lives," Schaeffer said.

There is an emergency notification system for the Greater Spokane area that you can sign up for to receive the latest information about local emergencies.