Safety Train Keeps Local Emergency Responders on Track
Union Pacific provides training for rail-related chemical emergencies
Houston, Texas, October 14, 2010 Local emergency responders today received hands-on training aboard a Safety Train designed to prepare them for chemical emergencies on the railroad tracks through a program sponsored by Union Pacific Railroad in Houston.
The three-day event, which started Tuesday, was part of a tour by Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER®), a national outreach effort that has trained hundreds of fire fighters, police officers and other community responders. With a locomotive and six rail cars, the program's Safety Train provided participants the opportunity to access railroad safety equipment.
"Rail is the safest way to ship hazardous materials and we are required by federal law to do so," said Timothy O'Brien, director of environmental operations for Union Pacific's southern region. "Our top priority is to ensure that chemicals are transported in the safest manner, but we also want to provide training resources that help prepare emergency responders for possible emergencies."
Two box cars served as classrooms where instructors reviewed how chemicals are shipped on the railroad. Emergency responders climbed on tank cars to learn how components, such as safety valves, work. They also learned how to repair chemical leaks through simulated exercises.
"This training enhances our emergency response program by giving us valuable experience that will help us keep our communities safe," said Houston District Fire Chief John Douglas, who oversees the fire department's hazardous materials response team. "It also gives us the opportunity to have open discussions with the representatives who will partner with us if there is an emergency."
The 2010 TRANSCAER Training Tour has helped prepare emergency responders in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Tour partners include the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation, CHEMTREC and other local agencies.
Founded by Union Pacific Railroad and Dow in 1986, TRANSCAER provides programs that help communities prepare for and respond to a possible hazardous material transportation incident. TRANSCAER members consist of volunteer representatives from the chemical manufacturing, transportation, distributor, and emergency response industries, as well as government agencies.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and provides Americans with a fuel-efficient, environmentally responsible and safe mode of freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad emphasizes excellent customer service and offers competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.
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