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Well it looks as though the unlucky residents who happened to be within a 1.2 miles radius of the train derailment south of Louisville KY on Monday will not be heading home tonight. There has also been a ‘shelter in place’ order given to residents within a 5 mile radius of the accident. This means they are required to stay in their homes with the windows closed and all ventilation devices turned off, including heating, cooling and even bathroom fans, until further notice.

Stuff happens, but this is pretty ridiculous, seven days and counting. It can be argued that transporting hazardous materials by rail reduces the risk of accidents relative to trucking (which I agree with), but when an accident does happen it causes a much bigger problem. There is not just one hazardous tanker, there are generally many, and the volume is much greater. The problem in the Louisville accident seems to be related to the fact that one of the tankers was highly combustible and another highly poisonous, and they both derailed close to each other.

Do we know what is being shipped through Parry Sound on the 35 or so trains that pass through daily? Do we, as residents, know what to do in the case of a similar emergency? Shouldn’t we know?

As a child we were given instructions on what to do in case of a nuclear attack. Since then there have been many more derailments than nuclear attacks. Perhaps we need to know what to do in case off a derailment. Like debates about the impact of climate change, we know it will happen, the only argument concerns how bad and when.

Speaking of ‘stuff’ happening, as I was preparing this post my family came home and told me that there was a fire on Bowes Street, at the intersection with Forest Street. I headed out and caught a few photos. The lesson here is that ‘stuff’ does happen and you need to be prepared. We are fortunate to have a trained and capable volunteer fire department. I would not want to see them having to deal with a train tanker chemical fire for which they and the town were not prepared.