The simulated attack, to take place between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, is part of the annual national convention of the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals (AHMP), which holds emergency response training scenarios in a different city every year. This year's conference is taking place from Sept. 9 through 13 at the Hilton hotel in Anchorage.
The AHMP website puts the scenario into perspective:
Everyday, millions of gallons of hazardous materials are transported by rail in this country. Most citizens are unaware of the volume and magnitude of these daily operations. Oftentimes, they simply watch down the line of railcars for the caboose as placard after placard pass within feet of their vehicles.
Thus, the Emergency Response Scenario will address the challenges responders would encounter if faced with a scenario where terrorists intentionally released toxic gas onto a train.
Steve Williams, a former Alaska Trooper turned Oregon-based consultant, is one of the trainers for the response drill. He told APRN that they will be using "all available resources" during the exercise – law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical and hazmat teams, and the U.S. Army's civil support team. Hundreds of people will be involved. It will be "as real as it gets," Williams told APRN.