Union Pacific Railroad conducted training for 80 emergency response personnel from 17 states April 8 - 10 and April 20 - 22. The training focused on sharpening the emergency responders' skills to better prepare them in the unlikely event of a crude-by-rail incident in or near their respective communities.
Union Pacific proactively reaches out to fire departments as well as other emergency responders along its lines to offer comprehensive training to first responders in communities where the railroad operates. The company annually trains approximately 2,500 local, state and federal first-responders on ways to minimize the impact of a potential derailment. Union Pacific has trained nearly 38,000 public responders and almost 7,500 private responders (shippers and contractors) since 2003. This includes classroom and hands-on training. In 2014, the railroad trained 314 emergency responders specifically on crude-by-rail transportation.
The recently completed training covered a variety of safety subjects, including identification of tank car types that transport crude; tank car fittings; tank car construction; chemical and physical properties of the different types of crude oil; and crude oil response precautions. Participants received hands-on experience in assessing tank car damage; making certain on-site repairs; controlling the release of crude oil from damaged rail cars; and crude oil fire suppression techniques.
Class members participated in a simulated crude oil fire. The simulation helped students understand how the railroad would work with them in an emergency, and how to work safely while on railroad property.
The three-day, 24-hour courses were held at the Association of American Railroads' Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado. Union Pacific paid for all attendees' expenses, with no cost to communities or organizations.