The All Hazards Training Center at The University of Findlay has developed the Rail Car Incident Response for Crude, Ethanol and other Flammable Liquids training course for the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to educate emergency responders on freight rail car incidents involving hazardous materials, specifically crude oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids.
The federal government has made grant moneys available for the Crude Oil Train Response classes that provide local departments the chance to look at how a Crude Oil Train Derailment response would be best handled.
“Scioto County Emergency Management Agency held a table top exercise a year ago that involved a crude oil train derailment in the Lucasville area,” Scioto County Emergency Management Agency Director Kim Carver said. “Working with Railroad Officials, the group at the Emergency Operations Center walked through the best way to respond for safety of personnel and the best way to protect the population nearby. This will be a follow on training class that will permit all county departments to have a chance to view a crude oil rail car up close and work with expert trainers on how to stay safe while handling such a response in our community.”
Carver said hands-on scenarios using a rail car simulator are conducted to emphasize the objectives of the training including identifying the design, construction, components and markings of rail tank cars — specifically those that carry crude, ethanol, and other flammable liquids; recognizing and identifying the chemical being transported and the properties that must be considered in an emergency.
The training includes assessing the scene to determine the potential hazards to people, property and the environment; recognizing possible mitigation strategies including offensive, defensive and non-intervention strategies for fire and/or spill incidents; identifying characteristics and key resources in the rail/freight industry as well as federal, state and private resources available to assist in a response effort.
“They’re moving more and more crude oil by rail all the time,” Portsmouth Fire Chief Bill Raison said. “And we have two railroads — CSX and Norfolk Southern — that go through our jurisdiction and both of them have the potential to be carrying crude oil. So if we have an incident with a train and a crude oil spill or, heaven forbid, a fire, it’s not your run-of-the-mill everyday incident you would respond too.”
For that reason, Raison said being knowledgeable in the chemical properties and how crude oil reacts in a fire could be vitally important should such an incident occur.
Raison and Captain Chris Lowery were paid by Norfolk Southern to travel to Colorado for a week-long training at a rail facility.
“We spent quite a bit of time dealing with crude oil and actually fires out there,” Raison said. “It was live fire training.”
The classes are May 18, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to be hosted by New Boston Fire Department at the Community Center there and May 19 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Shawnee State University Sodexo Ball Room, hosted by Portsmouth Fire Department.
“Scioto County appreciates the chance to have two classes at no cost for their firefighters — thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation federal grant program for Hazardous Materials Response that focused funds on the crude oil rail training after high profile events in the nation,” Carver said. “Any firefighter interested in registering for the class can leave a detailed voice message at the EMA Office at 740-355-8300. Those interested should give their name, department and a good contact number for call back to finalize the registration.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.