Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NS safety train to Slidell, La.

  • Print
  • Email

Norfolk Southern Corporation’s safety train rolled into Slidell, La., last week.  NS says it hosted 143 area emergency responders who received advanced training in safely handling potential rail incidents involving hazardous materials.

“The safety train is a mobile technical training center – a vocational school – for the continuing education of first responders and representatives of government agencies who support Norfolk Southern’s commitment to incident-free handling of hazardous materials,” said David Schoendorfer, Norfolk Southern’s system manager hazardous materials. “It’s a whistle-stop train that helps keep our communities safe.”

Staged at the Slidell Amtrak station, NS reported the safety train attracted emergency responders from the Bogalusa Fire Department, Fort Pike Fire Department, Live Oak Manor Volunteer Fire Department, McComb Fire Department, and St. Tammany Fire Districts 1, 3, and 4. Also attending were representatives from the hazardous materials teams of Airgas and BASF.

“The Norfolk Southern Operations Awareness & Response course was excellent with the instructors sharing their extensive experience and training. Proper and regular training is extremely important for us to be able to protect our citizens and our personnel,” said Captain Greg Kelly with the St. Tammany Fire District #1 in Slidell, a 21-year fire service veteran who participated in the training with 106 members of his department. “Meeting and training with the other responders was a great opportunity to build better working relationships.”

The train is visiting 18 cities in 13 states during its inaugural tour this year. To date, NS says more than 1,850 emergency responders have received professional instruction on the train. At every location, emergency responders can choose from among three days of free training that includes instructor-led and hands-on learning. The train includes two boxcars converted into classrooms, four types of railroad tank cars used in transporting all types of chemicals, and two specially equipped flat cars.

“Norfolk Southern has a great safety record, but in the unlikely event of a train derailment involving hazmat, we want to help make sure the communities we serve are prepared,” Schoendorfer said. “It’s a best business practice to help with preparedness.”

NS says the training is "beneficial for all emergency responders, including representatives of fire departments, law enforcement, emergency medical services, hazmat response teams, emergency management personnel, military, homeland security personnel, rail regulators, shippers, and customers."

The dedicated safety train is part of Norfolk Southern’s “Operation Awareness and Response” initiative launched in 2015 to educate the public about the safe movement of hazardous materials by rail and to connect emergency first responders in Norfolk Southern communities with information and training resources. Including instruction on the train and through other course offerings, Norfolk Southern says in 2016 it has trained more than 4,000 local emergency responders throughout its operating territory.

Get the latest rail news

Rail news and analysis from Railway Age, IRJ and RT&S by email