Firefighters Train for Rare Emergencies 

Today, it was back to school for local firefighters in Orono and Old Town.Both departments were trained in how to respond to rare railroad emergencies.The rail safety group behind the event stressed how important it is for emergency responders to get the experience.”The education is really important because the dangers are very unique in a rail incident as much as they would be in an air incident,” said Norma Griffiths, of Maine Operation Lifesavers.As one of four hazmat teams in Maine, Orono and and Old Town would be the first responders to hazardous leaks in surrounding communities. That is why Mark Graffam, a Lt. in the Old Town fire department, says his crew understands how important the education is. “This is something that we wanted to have just because we have it going through our community, and I think it’s important part of our training to know what is in our community and what could be coming through on the rail lines.” About forty firefighters will train over the next three days in order to prepare for safety issues such as hazmat leaks and train derailments.Before hitting the classroom this morning, Lt. Scott Luciano of the Orono Fire Department was out on the railroad lines getting some hands on experience.”We were able to climb in, look at some of the controls that the conductor or engineer would use and how we would operate them or work with the railroad in an emergency.”With their training on track, both departments can respond to unique emergencies that happen to roll in.