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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Rail hazards: Prepare with training, teamwork

If you have a railroad in your jurisdiction, when was the last time you received training on railcar emergencies or exercised a scenario like this?

By Adam K. Thiel

While they are relatively uncommon, this story demonstrates the potential magnitude of major hazardous materials emergencies involving bulk transport vehicles on local communities.

Obviously, even the most highly-skilled fire department hazmat team is unlikely to have the expertise required to effectively mitigate this type of incident.

In this case, outside specialists were called in after local agencies properly identified the extent of the hazard and took initial public protective actions.

It's also important to work with the railroad and its contractors on these events, since they possess invaluable technical expertise, industry contacts, and resources.

If you have a railroad in your jurisdiction, when was the last time you received training on railcar emergencies or exercised a scenario like this one?

Even more critical, when was the last time you trained alongside your local/regional/state hazmat teams?

Stay safe!

About the author

With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel FireRescue1's editorial advisor is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.


Comments
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FireRescue1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Rudy Caparros Sr. Rudy Caparros Sr. Wednesday, January 29, 2014 1:07:41 PM TOXIC TRAIN WAR - THE CHLORINE INSTITUTE (a trade association of chlorine producers) claims that its C Kit, a repair kit for chlorine rail tank cars, is safe to use. Hazmat experts say The Chlorine Institute C-Kit is extremely hazardous and its use must be discontinued. Learn the truth, See--PETITION C KIT for First Responders Comments.

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