SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Following the disastrous train derailment in Ohio back in February, emergency preparedness was the topic of discussion in a meeting with Springfield officials Thursday evening. Each year there are over 1100 train derailments in the U.S. with some dangerously impacting communities. Springfield officials want to be prepared to make sure that doesn’t happen here.

“How do we approach this as a municipality, so we are ready to respond to as quickly as we are known for?,” expressed City Councilor Sean F. Curran, Chairman of the Maintenance and Development Committee.

The city of Springfield is no stranger to chemical disasters. 35 years ago a large chlorine chemical fire occurred at a factory that caused the evacuation of 20,000 people.

With miles of train track in the city the Springfield Fire Department Commissioner BJ Calvi says they are prepared for this kind of emergency, “In the Springfield Fire Department we have, right now, 264 uniformed members. Everyone is trained to the standards of 19-10-120; which means we can control hazardous materials from a defensive posture.”

Once they get past that type of chemical leak Commissioner Calvi says that’s when the state’s Hazardous Materials Division is needed. 40 of those hazmat technicians are in the Springfield District.

“The good thing that we have going for us, as what we have, opposed to Palestine is that this is a low-speed track area,” added Calvi, “We’ve had derailments from time to time in the city, but you are not getting a 10 or 15 car pile up where things are spilled over the siding.”

As for the Springfield Police Department. Calvi says their role would be crowd control and evacuation orders to make sure people stay a safe distance away from a chemical leak.

City Councilor Curran told 22News after the meeting that he believes the Springfield Fire Department is the best trained in regards to rail safety.