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Preparing for the worst

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Imagine being on the Music City Star in route from Nashville to Lebanon when, unexpectedly, you hear gunshots coming from the car behind you. What would you do?

Regional Transportation Authority Marketing Specialist Cary Foust Street advised that in a situation such as this, the best action is to keep calm and allow trained professionals to do their jobs.

A multi-agency drill took place on the Music City Star at the Lebanon Station on Tuesday morning simulating this scenario.

"The scenario is that there is one or multiple shooters on the train once they pass Martha Station.

They've managed to get it her to Lebanon, and in phases sweep the train," Street explained. "There are state, local and federal evaluators here evaluating the response."

Street said that simulation exercises are required every other year by the Federal Railroad Administration. Agencies involved were RTA, Music City Star, Lebanon Fire Department, Lebanon Police Department, Smith County Emergency Management, Tennessee Emergency Management, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Office of Homeland Security, Wilson 9-1-1, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, Wilson County Sheriffs Department, FBI Swat, Federal Railroad Administration, University Medical Center, Nashville and Eastern Railroad, Lebanon High School HOSA, Lebanon Special School District, Tennessee Operation Lifesaver and Wilson County Schools Transportation.

Street said the last simulation in 2013 was at Hamilton Springs. The mock disaster scenario was that an incendiary device was planted on the track. "They saw something on the track and they stopped the train," she explained, adding that a federal team creates these scenarios.

"You pray that these things never happen, but you train for them just in case," she said. "The important thing to remember is these emergency personnel are trained professionals. They know what they are doing."

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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