The exercise took place in Plymouth, but 80+ attendees from several counties across northern Indiana came. Represented locally were Marshall County EMA Director Jack Garner, Marshall County Coroner John Grolich, and Plymouth Fire Department Assistant Chief Chuy Garcia.

Other participants included, but were not limited to: FEMA, IDHS, healthcare professionals, the National Weather Service, Red Cross, NIPSCO, the Indiana Toll Road, railroad safety officials, emergency management agencies, police departments, and fire/EMS departments.

The all-day event simulated a train derailment, leading to a fire and chemical spill in Argos. Because of the chemical identified, an evacuation of the town would be required, expanding the operation significantly. Beyond the short-term tactical response, attention was also paid to long-term community recovery efforts and economic impacts.

Participating organizations were split into tables based on their job sectors and went through discussion questions. This provided a great opportunity to review plans and procedures and apply them to the chosen topic.

A smaller group was chosen to participate in the “Incident Command” structure and actually played out the scenario in the afternoon. Garcia (second from left) and Garner (second from right) were both in that group.

This exercise was the second stage out of three for IDHS’ exercise schedule. A full-scale training exercise covering the same topic will be conducted in 2025.

Submitted by: Jack Garner, EMA Director, Marshall County