First responders practice emergency drills onboard streetcar - Tucson News Now

First responders practice emergency drills onboard Tucson's streetcar

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A full day of practice for emergencies involving Tucson's new streetcar ended with a bang Tuesday.

First responders were sharpening their skills before Sun Link service starts in July.

The drills got more intense as the day went on.

If disaster should strike one of the new modern streetcars, Tucson's first responders need to know what to do with this unique vehicle and how to help the passengers onboard.

The Tucson police SWAT team got their chance to practice handling an emergency on the streetcar on Tuesday.

The first simulation was a hostage-taking onboard the streetcar.

First responders have been learning all about the streetcars and how they work.

Tuesday they, along with the streetcar operators, got their first hands-on emergency training.

The SWAT team had two practice scenarios.

After the simulated hostage situation, they practiced an emergency involving a suspect with a bomb onboard the streetcar.

Earlier in the day, Tucson firefighters and a hazmat team dealt with a scenario where a streetcar and a truck collided, spilling gasoline.

The streetcar is unique in that, unlike any other vehicle on city streets, it's attached to an electrical line.

That can make it more dangerous in an emergency.

The drills are part of ongoing training.

"We train our first responders. Now we're testing and we'll see if we need to do more training, if there are areas that need to be improved and also we document these exercises and we do an evaluation after that and see how good of a job we did," says Marwan Al-Mukhtar, Sun Link Safety and Security Officer.

The federal and state governments require these drills.

There will be refresher drills once a year or more often.

Paying passengers will begin riding the streetcars July 25.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

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