Several agencies participated in a mock disaster drill last Tuesday in Lebanon to remain prepared for disaster situations that involve the WeGo Star commuter train.
The drill, which was held at the Martha Station on State Route 109, brought together several agencies, including the Lebanon Police Department, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Mt. Juliet Police Department, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, state emergency response crews and healthcare providers.
The exercise tasked the agencies with performing a coordinated response to a mass casualty incident aboard a WeGo train, including the removal of a large number of people, administering aid to those wounded, and identifying threats.
The agency has provided regional rail service between Lebanon and Nashville since 2008 and ridership topped 1,000 riders per day prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are four stations in Wilson County.
“This is a great opportunity for all of our agencies to come together in a high-stress situation like this and process it. It hones our skills, not only from our response and different personnel and equipment we have, but also the way we communicate with other personnel here,” said PJ Hardy, Lebanon Police public information officer. “It’s great for us to have this exercise and practice communicating because that’s the biggest thing. If we’re all on different pages, some serious things could happen.”
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, who is also the chairman of the RTA Board that oversees the WeGo Star, said the exercise helps local agencies prepare for a disaster that could not be counted out in today’s times.
“With what we’ve been through recently, we know a disaster can happen. We’ve had some experiences. You hate to say it wouldn’t ever happen, but public transportation sometimes becomes a target for terrorism or other things,” Hutto said.