Railway ‘disaster‘ goes as planned

Injured commutbeing carried out of the train on stretchers to be treated by the medical team.

Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) together with Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd, the operator of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line, held an Emergency Response Plan Exercise to test its readiness in handling a big-scale emergency situation.

The drill was carried out as part of preparations for operation readiness of the SBK Line.

The Emergency Response Plan is a mandatory requirement by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) before an operating licence is issued for a railway.

Besides Rapid Rail and MRT Corp, various emergency response agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Department, police and Health Ministry were also involved in the exercise held at the Kwasa Sentral MRT Station.

The emergency simulation depicted a “derailment” of the MRT train after it hit an object on the track 200m meters from Kwasa Sentral station.

The derailment triggered multiple alarms from the train and track equipment to the Operations Control Centre.

Staff nearest to the incident area were deployed to verify the alarms and execute the emergency response.

Fire and Rescue Services, Civil Defence and police taking control of the situation while rescuing the victims during the emergency drill.
Fire and Rescue Services, Civil Defence and police taking control of the situation while rescuing the 'victims' during the emergency drill.

Around 280 “passengers” on board were trapped and some were injured, and one of the passengers triggered the Operations Control Centre by activating the Passenger Emergency Call (PEC) button inside the train.

Both tracks’ traction power were de-energised for the rescue process to take place. The first staff who arrived at site worked to put out the fire before calling more support staff to site.

Support staff inspected the situation inside the train and identified 19 casualties with various level of injuries.

Before the arrival of the fire department, “supervised evacuation” had already been implemented just 10 minutes after the train was stranded. Passengers who could walk were safely guided to Kwasa Sentral station via the emergency walkway.

Casualties with severe injuries were calmed down while waiting for rescue by the Emergency Response Agencies (ERA).

The team from the fire department was briefed on the incident and safety precaution by the MRT SBK Line’s Silver Incident Officer (SIO) before proceeding to the derailed train.

At the same time, the police had set up their Emergency Action Control Post (PKTK) at the street level and cordoned off the area to prevent bystanders from interfering with the exercise.

The Health Ministry’s medical team was also urgently setting up their medical “triage” at the station concourse and street level.

With the simulation, both Emergency Response Agencies and Rapid Rail were able to validate their respective Emergency Response Plan and Procedures that they had drawn up in the event of a disaster and improve on the shortcomings faced during the drill.

Rapid Rail head of operations for MRT SBK Line, Azmi Mohd Zain said the exercise went according to plan, with all the parties involved performing their roles very well.

“The various agencies have meticulously planned the exercise after several meetings and familiarisation visits to the stations, tracks and depot during the planning stage.

“This resulted in the emergency simulation exercise running very smoothly. There will be a post-mortem session to identify the area that can be improved further,” he said.

Phase One of the SBK Line between the Sungai Buloh Station and the Semantan Station is scheduled to be operational by December this year while the remainder of the line from the Semantan Station to the Kajang Station will be operational under Phase Two in July 2017.

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