Emergency Responders Sharpen Their Skills

Omaha, Neb., June 25, 2008 – Twenty-four emergency response personnel from across the nation have completed the most recent tank car safety course sponsored by Union Pacific Railroad.

"Our tank car safety programs are designed to provide the knowledge and skills local responders need to analyze an emergency and plan a response within their capabilities," said Charlie Wright, manager, hazardous materials training, Union Pacific. "This five-day course offers information and hands-on experience responders can use to protect themselves and their communities when an emergency occurs."

The training covers a variety of safety subjects including how to identify tank car types, fittings and tank car construction features during an emergency. Participants also receive hands-on experience in assessing tank car damage, making repairs, controlling the release of hazardous materials from damaged rail cars and using protective clothing and self-contained breathing apparatus.

For a final exam, class members participate in three simulated hazardous material accidents. The simulations help students understand how the railroad works with them in an emergency, and how to work safely while on railroad property.

The five-day, 40-hour course was held at the Association of American Railroad's Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colo. Union Pacific covers all attendees' expenses, with no cost to communities or organizations.

Since 1986, Union Pacific has sponsored 41 five-day training programs at the Transportation Technology Center for more than 800 emergency response personnel from communities served by UP, as well as more than 150 Union Pacific response personnel.

In addition to the tank car safety courses at the Transportation Technology Center, Union Pacific offers local hazardous material training programs to communities. More than 165,000 emergency response personnel have attended various training programs since 1979.

The emergency response personnel who attended the course from communities or businesses were:

  • Arizona:
    Jesus Bermudez, Kitchell Environmental, Phoenix
    Edward Vasquez, Kitchell Environmental, Phoenix
  • Arkansas:
    Kevin Hall, Benton Fire Department, Benton
  • California:
    Brian Garber, CH2M Hill, Sacramento
    Christopher Sanders, Arcadis – U.S., Inc., San Jose
    Allen Yuhl, RAH Environmental, Sacramento
  • Colorado:
    Oscar Sorensen, CH2M Hill, Englewood
  • Illinois:
    Justin Overturf, Freeman Environmental Services, Inc., Herin
    Adam Tokarski, Arcadis, Chicago
  • Iowa:
    Corey Archer, Cedar Rapids Fire Department, Cedar Rapids
  • Louisiana:
    Johnny Copeland, DeQuincy Fire Department, DeQuincy
    Danny Fitzgerald, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, Shreveport 
  • Minnesota:
    Tom Ballis, Stillwater Fire Department, Stillwater
    Jon Christofferson, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, St. Paul
  • Nevada:
    Jose Morales, Clark County Fire Department, Henderson
  • Texas:
    Michael Parsons, San Antonio Fire Department, San Antonio
    Richard Smith, The Woodlands Fire Department, The Woodlands
  • Virginia:
    Kevin Lavezzo, CHEMTREC, Arlington
  • Wisconsin:
    Gary Jolitz, Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee

Union Pacific employees attending the course included: Adam Fisher, Ft. Worth, Texas; Cole Fredrick, St. Louis, Mo.; Matthew Radley, Omaha, Neb.; Benjamin Salo, Roseville, Calif., and Jeffery Van Ness, Las Vegas, Nev.

Instructors included Charlie Wright, manager – hazardous material training, Union Pacific; Dean Cooper, manager – hazardous materials, Union Pacific, and Al Maty, chief inspector, Association of American Railroads–Bureau of Explosives. Union Pacific's Wright coordinated the course.

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 and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada rsquo;s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.

For further information, contact Mark Davis: (402) 544-5459

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