Cottondale Rail

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Train derailment is something we're all familiar with here in the Panhandle.

What if there was a warning system that would alert you if train derailed and spilled harmful chemicals in your neighborhood? A community in Jackson County is working on creating a system that would do just that.

A new warning system could give some added safety to the citizens in Cottondale that live near railroad tracks.

Nancy Strickland, a resident, says, "Yeah, I think they should have something like that for people to be safe ‘cause that's what it’s all about, being safe."

Jackson County EOC Director Rodney Andreasen says he’s been working on a system that would alert residents in the event of a train derailment.

Rodney says, "This something that we brought up before because we had a few derailments in the area. Luckily, we haven't had any hazardous materials spill yet."

Andreasen's plan would involve the use of weather radios and even a neighborhood siren.

"We want to use it along the tacks that'll give dual purpose, but the weather radios will give us a lot more coverage, and when you have that on alert, it will wake you up."

Some people here say they'll welcome an alarm in their neighborhood if it's for their own safety.

Ethan Rogers says, "That would be all right with me I guess, but I think perhaps a few more studies should be done about airborne pollutants and things like that from a train derailment."

Shirley Bevan adds, "We live far enough away from the tracks. I don't think it would affect us, but I think the people that live close to the railroad would like to have something like that. It's a matter of life and death for them."

The EOC plans to apply for grants to support this project. The alert system will also be used to warn citizens in the event of tornado.