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UP Builds Responders' Rail Safety Awareness

Posted March 18, 2013 10:04 a.m. CDT

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UP's 911 training tank car allows Urban Shield participants to run hazmat-related drills in a safe, realistic environment.

Emergency responders, law enforcement officials and UP managers learn emergency response techniques during the 50th UP-sponsored training course held at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) in Pueblo, Colo.

Union Pacific's communities continue benefitting from cooperation between the railroad and various emergency response organizations, with a goal of preventing and preparing for hazardous materials incidents. 

"Building relationships with local emergency responders and law enforcement agencies is a key responsibility of UP's hazmat team," said Mark Maday, manager-hazardous materials. "By making connections and educating community partners on railroad operations, we reinforce safety for employees, neighbors and customers."

Recently, UP played an integral role in preparedness training and exercises in Colorado and California.

Emergency responders, law enforcement officials and UP managers participated in training courses the weeks of Oct. 1 and 22 at the Association of American Railroads' Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) in Pueblo, Colo. Students represented 17 of the 23 states in which UP operates, along with managers from the railroad's Claims, Law and Mechanical departments.

Each of the five-day courses included classroom work on topics ranging from UP's emergency response protocols to hazmat transportation and tank car components. During hands-on segments, students assessed a derailment site, made minor car repairs and oversaw hazmat transfers from damaged equipment.

For their final exam, students participated in a hazmat drill that emphasized the importance of cooperation between UP and emergency response agencies, and how to work safely on railroad property.

Since 1986, UP has sponsored 50 five-day SERTC courses, training nearly 1,300 personnel. Annually, the railroad trains about 2,500 first responders systemwide through various programs.

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