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Freeborn County gets 'Back on Track'

Railroad safety is identified as a top threat for Freeborn County.

Posted: Dec. 4, 2018 7:29 PM

ALBERT LEA, Minn. - In what is called a 'Back on Track' Multi-jurisdictional Tabletop Exercise, agencies and organizations from across Freeborn County and surrounding areas are working through emergency plans. In the exercise, they gradually learn more information about a fictional derailed train that spilled Ethanol. It is on fire and leaking gas. The communities of Albert Lea, Glenville, Alden, and Clark's Grove are specifically targeted because train tracks run through them.

"A great way to do this in a low stress environment here today so that when the real thing happens or if the real thing happens, we're ready to respond and prepare for it," says Freeborn County Sheriff's Office Emergency Management Director Rich Hall.

"I hope they walk away with a list of things they need to fix because a lot of times, we write plans and they read really well, but until we walk through them or actually do them, we don't know where the gaps or the weaknesses are," adds Joe Kelly, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Around 100 representatives took part on Tuesday. It was originally designed as a state-wide exercise in September of 2017, but was modified to be specific to Freeborn County.

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