What Was Learned From This Unanticipated Train Catastrophe?

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Introduction. On January 06, 2005, a cargo train carrying a massive amount of chlorine gas spilled in Graniteville, South Carolina, creating panic and indeed chaos to both citizens and emergency personnel’s. The residents were caught in their sleep when freight train 192 traveling approximately 47 mph struck and leaked a dangerous amount of chlorine gas into the atmosphere. As a result of this tragedy, 5,400 individuals were evacuated from their homes and nine victims later died of gas related causes. The magnitude of this disaster was one that would change any town or city forever. And such sentiments were felt throughout the community of Graniteville. However, the purpose of this paper is to discuss what was learned from this unanticipated train calamity in Graniteville. While exploring how the field of emergency management can properly respond to unforeseen transportation accidents through implementing efficient and effective ways of communication in the midst of an incident. Background. The Avondale Mills plant in Graniteville serves as one of the largest employer in the rural mill town. However, in order for the mill company to conduct business daily, it receives a substantial amount of chlorine gas via Norfolk Southern Railway freight trains that runs through the heart of the town to Avondale Mills. Thus, being the busiest rail and perhaps the most important one for both residents and Avondale plant. Many trains traveled through the town daily conducting business.
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