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County emergency center is not in the right place

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In the article describing a contingency plan for the case of an oil train derailment, it states, “Craig Fontaine, who serves as the Becker County Emergency Services manager, is working on a contingency plan for the county if an oil train were to derail in the area.

He said there is a four- or five-mile stretch of BNSF double track through Detroit Lakes on which a derailment and explosion like occurred in Lac-Megantic would be catastrophic.

That explosion leveled buildings half a mile in each direction, Fontaine said.

Most of Detroit Lakes’ critical infrastructure is within that six-block range, he noted. Most of Detroit Lakes’ critical infrastructure is within that six-block range, he noted.

That includes the fire department, the police department, the sheriff’s office, the courthouse, the hospital and the ambulance service.

In a similar spirit of preparedness, a new emergency operations center is taking shape on the third floor of the Becker County Courthouse.

It includes an interactive screen for face-to-face conversations and training, a large conference table, space for a number of people to meet at once, and will eventually have three wall-mounted TV sets to track the news in case of a major disaster.”

Is it me or does it not makes sense to place an emergency operations center within Detroit Lakes’ critical infrastructure which is within that six-block range? In particularly, the courthouse? — John DeVito, Detroit Lakes

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