Friday, October 14, 2016

First responders training with NS safety train

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First responders training with NS safety train Norfolk Southern

Emergency responders from 18 cities in 13 states across Norfolk Southern’s railroad network are receiving advanced training in safely handling potential rail incidents involving hazardous materials with NS’s safety train.

As of Oct. 14, 1,515 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 various types of chemicals, and two specially equipped flat cars.

Ninety-two Atlanta-area emergency responders are the most recent training recipients. Staged this Atlanta’s Amtrak station, the safety train attracted representatives of a number of area agencies, including Georgia Department of Transportation HERO units, law enforcement officers from the Habersham County Sheriff’s Department, and fire and rescue personnel from Atlanta, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Griffin, Henry County, Smyrna, and Spalding County.

The 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 NS communities with information and training resources. Including instruction on the train and through other course offerings, NS in 2016 so far has trained nearly 4,000 local emergency responders throughout its operating territory.

“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 NS System Manager Hazardous Materials David Schoendorfer. “It’s a whistle-stop train that helps keep our communities safe. NS has a great safety record, but in the unlikely event of a train derailment involving hazmat, we want to make sure the communities we serve are prepared. We are focusing on areas where we have significant hazmat shipments. It’s a best business practice to help with preparedness.”

“This training provides continuing education and familiarization with processes and equipment Norfolk Southern uses,” said Michael Lewis, battalion chief, DeKalb County Fire & Rescue in metro Atlanta. “It helps us understand the potential hazards of working with railroad equipment, and it builds relationships that enable us to work as a team with Norfolk Southern in any kind of rail emergency situation we may encounter. For us to be able to come here locally and receive this training is awesome.”

The safety train’s next stop will be in Chattanooga, Tenn., Oct. 25-27. To register in advance for training in Chattanooga or at other stops scheduled this year, visit and click on “Training” and “Download Invitation” near the bottom of the page. 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.”






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