Coconino County Hazardous Spill/Railway Collision

Significant Event Readiness Forum (SERF)

NAU High Country Conference Center

201 W. Butler Avenue, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001

November 16, 2023 | 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Breakfast and lunch will be served.

The purpose of the Significant Event Readiness Forum (SERF) is to provide an environment for exploring gaps and opportunities along the disaster response continuum. The SERF is not a disaster preparedness exercise, but instead is a facilitated discussion to foster information sharing.

By the end of the SERF, participants will have an improved understanding of:
  1. How public information and warning will be activated and provided.
  2. How operational coordination, interoperable communications and situational assessment will be activated and provided.
  3. How access control, identity verification, physical protective measures, on-scene security, protection, and law enforcement will be managed.
  4. How public health, healthcare, and EMS services will be activated and provided.
  5. How risk will be managed.
  6. How fatality management will be activated and provided.
  7. How mass care services will be activated and provided.
  8. How infrastructure systems will be assessed.
The target audience for the event is:
  • Alarm Room/Dispatch
  • Business Organizations
  • City Management
  • Clinics
  • College
  • EMS
  • Fire (Municipal and Tribal)
  • Hospital
  • Emergency Management (County, Municipal, and Tribal)
  • Law Enforcement (County, Municipal, and Tribal)
  • Local Emergency Planning Committee
  • Mass Transit
  • Mental Health
  • Military Representatives
  • NGOs
  • PIOs
  • OME
  • Public Health
  • Public School Districts
  • Public Works
  • Railroad Companies
  • State and Federal Agencies
  • State Associations and Organizations
  • Storm Water
  • University
  • Weather Service

Coconino County Hazardous Spill/Railway Collision SERF – Scenario

It is mid-day in downtown Flagstaff in October. Travelers are waiting for AMTRAK at the station, and numerous visitors are at the Visitor’s Bureau. A large vehicle – traveling the wrong way on San Francisco Street – has stopped on the railroad tracks.

Burlington Northern-San Francisco has a westbound train traveling which is carrying alcohol and Potassium Hydroxide, dry freight, and rocks. The train collides with the vehicle. Rail cars are displaced from the tracks and sent into the Visitor’s Bureau and AMTRAK station. Ten people were critically injured, including four children.

The alcohol and Potassium Hydroxide spill south into the water system as well as the Rio de Flag. The alcohol bursts into flame, causing more property damage and injuries. Rock debris is also flung at the Visitor’s Bureau and surrounding roadways impacting passing vehicles, elevating the property damage and injuries.

The Potassium Hydroxide plume looms over the downtown area and moves north-northeast towards downtown, hospital hill, and McMillan Mesa. The plume impacts citizens, students, and visitors, resulting in widespread immediate and delayed respiratory challenges. Individuals respond by driving/taking transportation to the hospitals and clinics.

The SERF will explore two time periods: 1) the first four hours of response and 2) the twelve to twenty-four hours of recovery.