AAR, API collaborate on CBR first-responder safety course

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) and American Petroleum Institute (API) have collaborated on a new crude-by-rail (CBR) introductory safety course for first responders. This course is available free of charge to emergency response organizations and fire departments via the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER®) program, of which railroads and oil companies are members.

The course “covers important safety topics, including the characteristics of crude oil, the railcars in which it is shipped, considerations and strategies for spill response and firefighting, and the importance of following training and the incident command system, to help fire departments and other emergency response organizations learn about the safety of moving crude oil by rail,” AAR and API noted. “It’s part of a holistic effort to better prevent, mitigate, and respond to derailments of trains carrying crude oil. Fire departments and other state and local officials 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 that will be distributed by TRANSCAER to fire houses across the U.S.”

API and TRANSCAER partnered with the Federal Railroad Administration to identify states for the initial rollout of this program, which will complement existing training efforts for firefighters and other first responders and 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; the program will be taught for the first time the weekend of March 28-29 at conferences in Nebraska and Florida.

AAR and API said course materials will soon be posted and publicly available on the TRANSCAER website. The API has posted the materials on its website as a 55-page PDF that can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

“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. Railroads train tens of thousands of first responders each year, in their communities and through programs like TRANSCAER®, as well as the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) at the Transportation Technology Center Inc., in Pueblo, Colo. SERTC last year launched a specialized training program on CBR that is estimated to train more than 3,000 high level hazmat first responders.”

“When it comes to shipping crude oil by rail our first priority is safety,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “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.”

Tags: , , , , ,