- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The District’s emergency management system put to the test during Monday’s fatal Red Line train crash proved effective, local officials said Monday evening.

The emergency mutual-aid agreements between the local governments in the area helped first responders and hospitals from multiple localities and agencies coordinate in a way that would have been almost impossible before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Nine people died and more than 70 were injured in the worst disaster in Metro’s history when a Red Line train crashed into a second train between the Fort Totten and Takoma Metro stations shortly after 5 p.m. on Monday.

More than 200 emergency workers from throughout the area descended on the scene Monday evening in response to the system. D.C. fire and EMS Chief Dennis L. Rubin said first responders from Fairfax County, Arlington County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County helped D.C. emergency workers manage the scene and respond to other medical calls in the city.

Prince George’s County emergency management officials answered the call for help at 5:48 p.m. They sent three fire engines, a ladder truck, an ambulance and a mass-casualty bus.

Maryland emergency management officials answered the call from D.C. officials about 7:20 p.m.

“It sounds like the D.C. crew is doing a pretty good job,” said Richard Muth, director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Maryland officials sent more than 20 medical units and 30 pieces of equipment. At least three hospitals in Maryland were taking patients Monday night.

“There’s been a lot of emphasis put on interoperability and multi-faceted management systems, which focuses especially on the regional management systems,” said Daniel Zubairi, a D.C.-area homeland security consultant. “It appears the surge and the triage response by EMS and emergency services was actually pretty good.”

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board took the lead searching for the cause of the accident.

At least a half-dozen ambulances were parked outside the Washington Hospital Center on Monday night, although it was not clear who was being taken to the hospital from the train wreck.

• S.A. Miller contributed to this report.