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Drill simulates oil train derailment at CMC and Camp San Luis Obispo

Members of the San Luis Obispo Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team work to repair broken pipes and contain industrial chemicals in a training building Wednesday as part of a hazardous waste and oil train derailment training exercise at Camp San Luis Obispo and the California Men’s Colony.
Members of the San Luis Obispo Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team work to repair broken pipes and contain industrial chemicals in a training building Wednesday as part of a hazardous waste and oil train derailment training exercise at Camp San Luis Obispo and the California Men’s Colony. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Members of several San Luis Obispo County and state agencies took part in a large-scale training exercise Wednesday morning simulating different scenarios related to a possible oil train derailment.

The San Luis Obispo County Incident Management Team completed different drills at California Men’s Colony and Camp San Luis Obispo, simulating responses to structure fires, a structural collapse, hazardous materials spill, wildfire and multi-casualty incident.

The exercise was conducted as residents debate a Phillips 66 proposal to bring crude oil to its Nipomo Mesa refinery by rail.

About 125 people participated in the drill, including members of local police and fire departments, SLO County Public Health, the Sheriff’s Office, SLO County Environmental Health Department, SLO County Urban Search and Rescue, a SLO County Hazardous Materials Team and San Luis Ambulance.

Other parties included Cal Fire, the California Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections and Air Pollution Control District staff.

Cal Fire spokesman Bennet Milloy said Wednesday’s exercise was a success and that local agencies were able to mobilize and respond to multiple simulated incidents at once without advance warning.

“The idea is they want it to be realistic, so (simulated) events are fluid and dynamic,” Milloy said. “Stress is part of the training.”

A post-exercise review identified communication among the myriad agencies as a focus for future training efforts, he said.

Matt Fountain: 805-781-7909, @MattFountain1

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