BLAINE, October 23, 2014: Chief Mike Haslip organized this training session at the ACS Training Facility yesterday. He invited Justin Piper from BNSF to present his two-and-a-half hour session on “Hazardous Materials Awareness for First Responders”. Justin is an excellent instructor and the materials presented were first class. We learned about how important it is to contact BNSF’s emergency response center immediately (1-800-832-5452) if we spot a railroad-related emergency. The operators there can provide (by email or fax) all the information needed to immediately determine if a particular train is carrying hazardous materials, what they are, and exactly what cars they’re in.
We also learned how to recognize the different kinds of high-pressure and low-pressure tank cars used to transport hazardous materials and to understand the dangers posed by them in a collision or derailment.
The good news is that BNSF’s accident rate is low and falling, and new car technology is making railroad cars stronger and safer.
Justin even had some props: real safety equipment used on real tank cars. He had hydrant-sized valves inside 3/4-inch-thick steel protective housings the size of a garbage can. This stuff is seriously heavy duty.
The class was very well attended by several Blaine police officers, fire fighters, local customs officials, and ACS members. During the breaks, we gave several guided tours of the Comm Van and the Chief provided coffee and doughnuts for all. Thank you Chief, and thank you Justin.
FYI, BNSF is a participant in a nationwide safety training network called TRANSCAER. For more information, check out http://www.transcaer.com.