Tag Archives: train derailments

“My Town Disappeared”

large explosionThere is an ongoing crisis with train derailments that result in fiery explosions.  These explosions happen when tanker cars that are ill-equipped to withstand collisions are used to transport crude oil.  The oil usually originates in North Dakota, whose oil industry has grown so fast over the last few years that it is now second only to Texas as an oil-producing state.   North Dakota doesn’t have any oil pipelines, so in order to get the oil to the refineries, the oil companies transport it by train.  And they transport the oil in tanker cars called DOT111’s, which were not designed or built to transport hazardous material.

One such explosive derailment took place in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada on July 6, 2013.  Forty-seven people were killed in that small town and a large portion of the town was destroyed.  As one townsperson described it, “My town disappeared.”  You owe it to yourself to take ten minutes and educate yourself on this issue.  Watch this video prepared jointly by The Weather Channel and InsideClimate News:

Now, don’t console yourself by thinking that this is one incident that took place in Canada.  It is, in fact, one of several incidents.  Similar incidents have taken place in Virginia, Alabama and North Dakota as well as in Alberta and New Brunswick in Canada.

In addition to the deaths that have occurred, the explosions result in environmental degradation.  Toxic fumes, destruction of property, disruption of utilities and emergency services in the town, contamination of the water supply and other hazardous consequences have occurred or could occur from accidents like these.

In light of this, you need to ask yourself what you would do if something like this happened and your town disappeared.  Do you have several alternate routes out of town, so that you always have a way to go away from the hazard?  Are you prepared with alternate destinations?  Is your bug-out bag ready, one for every member of the family?  Does your bug-out bag contain enough cash to pay for an inexpensive hotel for a couple of nights?  Is your gas tank at least half full?

These disasters are horrendous.  Although, in the big scheme of things, you can predict that these derailments will continue to happen, any particular incident comes completely out of the blue.  You can’t prevent or predict them and you probably can’t avoid them.  But you can prepare yourself in advance to be able to weather the catastrophe.

What do you think are some of the most important steps in prepping to survive a similar disaster?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

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