America’s oil and freight railroad industries have developed a new education module for first responders as part of a holistic effort to better prevent, mitigate and respond to derailments of trains carrying crude oil, the heads of API and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced today.
“When it comes to shipping crude oil by rail our first priority is safety,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard on a conference call today. “While the first steps are to prevent and mitigate the impact of train derailments, if an incident happens, we also need to make sure firefighters and first responders have the knowledge they need to protect local communities.”
The program, which will complement existing training efforts for firefighters and other first responders, will be taught for the first time this weekend at conferences in Nebraska and Florida.
“Freight railroads are fully committed to the safe movement of crude oil and other hazardous materials by rail,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “This course is another example of how railroads and their customers work with communities coast-to-coast to help with awareness and preparedness for any type of incident.”
The course covers the characteristics of crude oil, the rail cars in which it is shipped, considerations and strategies for spill response and firefighting, and the importance of following training and the incident command system.
Course materials will soon be posted and publicly available on the website of the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER) program, which will distribute the course. They can also be found here.
API and TRANSCAER partnered with the Federal Railroad Administration to identify states for the initial rollout of this program, which will be offered free of charge at hazmat and emergency response conferences across North America. Course offerings are already confirmed or being planned in more than 15 states.
Fire departments and other state and local officials who are interested in having the course taught in their area should contact their TRANSCAER state coordinator. A DVD version of the program is also being produced, which will be distributed by TRANSCAER to fire houses across the U.S.
API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.