SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — While major accidents like the train derailment in Ohio are uncommon the team in Sioux City is prepared to handle emergencies.

According to Sioux City’s Fire Marshall Mark Aesoph, Sioux City’s Hazmat team services 13 Iowa counties and smaller local counties in Nebraska and South Dakota.

The most recent emergency situation hazmat crews responded to was the Sibley train derailment in 2021. Such hazmat situations involve sending one hazmat vehicle with a minimum of six people per response.

In order to stay prepared for these incidents, the joint emergency management team regularly meets for response training and drills.

“Our emergency management plan needs to be updated annually as it pertains to hazardous materials incidents and we also keep tabs on what kinds of materials are in our community to help keep our community members safe,” said Michael Montino, emergency management coordinator for Woodbury County.

Montino says the specifics of what materials are transported through Sioux City by train is law enforcement-sensitive information. The information is not released publicly in order to keep people safe from possible criminal activity.

Montino understands how important communication is with the public in the event of an emergency, and that’s why Sioux City has a program in place to keep members of the public informed.

“Iowa has a program called alert Iowa and it’s actually available through most of the state of Iowa. We do use this in Woodbury county,” Montino said. “This is a system that we use for an emergency call back system that allows us to send messages to citizens on their cell phones.”

Residents of all Iowa counties can sign up for the program here.