The City of Estevan says it has a comprehensive emergency plan in place if a train goes off the tracks in the city, following last week's derailment northwest of town near Macoun.

City Safety Coordinator Helen Fornwald said there are several moving parts to the city's plan, but that the main pillar is safety.

"Our first priority is the life and safety of our community," Fornwald said. "And then we establish incident command. From there, we determine the safe radius that we need to, then we have to determine if it is hazardous material and if we need to do an evacuation."

"We close off the area, we put a SaskAlert out as well. We activate our EMO team (Emergency Managers Organization). And we may have to declare a local state of emergency if needed," she continued. 

Fornwald said there have been three train derailments in Estevan since 2004, including one evacuation order when a train that was carrying ammonia went off the tracks near the 13th Avenue crossing. There was also a derailment just west of Sister Roddy Road near St. Joseph's Hospital, while the most recent one blocked off the Kensington Avenue crossing.

Fornwald said these past incidents illustrated how crucial accessibility is.

"The biggest concern we have is if there's a derailment and the train is long enough and it crosses two of our crosses, then we're down to only one accessible crossing for north and south, and that becomes very sensitive to us as emergency services have to respond to other emergencies in the city," she said.

Fornwald said city staff are planning to discuss their emergency plan at an upcoming meeting.

"We'll discuss it to make sure that everything is still in place...heaven forbid we hope that never happens."

The cause of the Macoun derailment has not yet been released.