Emergency crews hold derailment drill as HART prepares to welcome its first passengers

Oahu emergency crews staged the first ever derailment drill for the future mass transit system.
Published: Oct. 22, 2022 at 5:53 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 22, 2022 at 6:02 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu emergency crews staged the first ever derailment drill for the future mass transit system.

Honolulu Firefighters and paramedics responded to the rail line about 100 yards from the Kualakai station in east Kapolei practicing for a full-scale derailment.

Firefighters used rope to lower patients 55 feet to the ground.

Honolulu Fire Department’s Battalion Chief Joseph Kostiha said their personnel have been training for these type of rail exercises during the COVID shutdown.

“This is our first time that we actually were able to touch and feel the train,” said Kostiha.

Honolulu EMS Director Jim Ireland said they also began training for this years ago, which helped determine what type of equipment they would need.

“This was a simulation of 50 to 60 patients so even if every single EMS ambulance responded on this island, there’s not enough for all those patients,” said Ireland.

“We relied on our partners who trained with us today.”

Ireland said the most critical patients would be transported by ambulances and the less injured would be taken in an ambulance bus, which can hold up to 12 people.

“In an emergency with 60 patients, pretty much every hospital on this island would get patients,” said Ireland. “You know, they would go from here to Castle to Wahiawa and definitely the two trauma centers, Queens and Pali Momi.”

“A lot of patients would go to Queens West, because that’s the closest hospital to the site.”

Rail authority CEO Lori Kahikina said this type of exercise will be an annual requirement.

“But once we hand this over to city and DTS, they will have to do it,” said Kahikina. “But HART, we’ll have to do something similar when we’re ready to open segments two and three.”

“We’re very pleased to be at this stage right now for segment one.”

“For me, this exercise today was really one of chicken skin,” said city Director of Department of Transportation Services Roger Morton. “Just to see the tremendous progress that we have made over the last year and a half, two years to where we are now.”

If all goes well, the first segment is set to open next year.