By  John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Drexel University today held a field-level mass casualties and “hazmat” drill to test communications and decision-making in the event of a similar actual emergency.

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The scenario was a train derailment in the Amtrak yard, close to Drexel’s campus, spewing a hazardous substance.

“One car carrying anhydrous ammonia — a relatively sizeable leak coming from the car,” Jonathan Chase, the executive director of the university’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety said, describing the drill scenario.  “Forced evacuations.  Evacuations in the script resulted in pedestrian-vehicular collisions.”

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About 20 student volunteers played the victims, who were cared for by campus EMTs.

Outside agencies were also involved in the exercise, including the FBI and the Philadelphia police and fire departments.


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