A train and a tanker collided in Hammond on Thursday, helping Louisiana's firemen, police and first responders to learn from the simulated disaster.
The simulation was part of a training drill aimed at providing an outdoor classroom for many state agencies across southeast Louisiana, where they could hone their life-saving skills in a more realistic setting.
"You can sit in a classroom all you want, but you don't really get the feel for it until you get out there and put your hands on it and see what you've got to do," said Hammond firefighter Matt Lato.
The drill zeroed in on giving concerned agencies practice in dealing with a hazardous materials emergency. Thursday's exercise also helped foster increased cooperation among the 28 different local, state and federal agencies that were involved.
"We have hazardous materials all around us -- on our roadways, on our trains, on every means of transportation," said Louisiana State Police trooper Nick Manle. "There's nothing like training to be prepared for a real-life situation."
The mock disaster drill in Hammond also helped local hospitals and schools learn what to do in the event of a hazardous materials accident in their area.
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