Norfolk Southern Trains Local Responders

Sep 15, 2015 6:05 AM ET

As part of a voluntary industry initiative, Norfolk Southern is helping to train local emergency responders in how to safely respond to potential incidents involving trains moving crude oil.

Norfolk Southern and other large railroads are sponsoring classroom and hands-on training at the Association of American Railroad’s Security and Emergency Response Training Center in Pueblo, Colo. The railroads in early 2014 committed $5 million to the initiative, including developing a three-day training course and paying for 1,500 first responders to attend.

In 2014, Norfolk Southern invested $126,000 to enhance training at the AAR’s training center. The company also provided $378,000 to cover the costs of travel and training for 126 first responders from 11 states, primarily along the company’s crude oil transport corridors. Those participants included fire chiefs, paramedics, homeland security officials, hazardous materials officers, and others from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, and Kentucky.

Employees in Norfolk Southern’s hazardous materials and environmental operations assisted with training. Attendees learned about the different types of crude oil moved by rail; basic site and damage assessment at a derailment; tank car design and construction; planning for crude oil incidents; and working with the railroad. A simulated derailment of 20 tanker cars offered hands-on training.

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