Fieldstudy of Rail road emergency response involving chemical material

Just after 13:00 in the afternoon, monday 28th of february, a railroad transport of chemical material de-railed south of Gothenburg. A major rescue operation was initiated. No leakage of toxic material was found, but the work to remove the damaged cargo-waggons is understood to take several days.

As a researcher, I had the opportunity to do observations during the first evenings activities on the accident site command post and participate in the meetings between the fire & rescue services, the police and all the other organsations involved to handle the accident.

Just to mention a few things from this eveningen.
The use of IT was extensive by the police and fire & rescue services. Concerning the other organisations, the main method for communication and information seeking was managed using mobile phones. The fire & rescue service used a mobile command vehicle equipped with internet access, laptop computers and faxmachines. The police incident commander had a laptop for documentation, but no network access. The fire & rescue services hazemat databases was used, geographical information was printed and presented at the regular command meetings in the field. The use of digital cameras provided detailed photos of the damaged cargo-waggons, allowing the involved actors to get a brief overview of the situation without moving out to the risk area.

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