API, AAR develop crude-by-rail safety course for first responders

Associations representing the US oil and rail industries jointly announced a new safety course for first responders to crude-by-rail accidents.

The program will complement existing training efforts for firefighters and other first responders, American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard and American Association of Railroads Pres. Edward R. Hamberger said in a Mar. 25 teleconference with reporters.

“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,” Gerard said.

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, the association officials said. It will be taught for the first time this week at conference in Nebraska and Florida, they noted.

Course materials will soon be posted and publicly available on the web site of the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (Transcaer) program, which will distribute the course.

API and Transcaer worked with the Federal Railroad Administration to identify states for the program’s initial rollout, which will be offered free of charge at hazardous materials and emergency response conferences across North America. Course offerings are already confirmed or being planned in more than 15 states, API said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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