Rail car training to be held next month

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


It is a common occurrence for trains to pass through Washington and usually the biggest problem is traffic slows. However, Washington County Emergency Management Coordinator Marissa Reisen wants emergency responders to be ready in the event a much larger problem occurs.

A special training event will be held at Marr Park on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in which emergency responders will get classroom and hands-on training. Traning will consists on how to handle a rail car incident involving flammable liquids such as crude or ethanol.

The All Hazards Training Center at the University of Findlay has developed the training course for the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to educate emergency responders on situations involving hazardous materials being transported by train.

?We will have a full day of training related to crude, ethanol and other flammable liquids and instant response to that,? Reisen said. ?They will have a rail car tanker there to train with. this is mostly aimed at fire departments because they are the ones who mostly respond to a scene, but anyone who would respond is welcome to attend.?

She said the event is free to all emergency responders.

With cases of derailments happening ? Reisen said there were three that occurred during her final year of grad school ? she said responders should be ready. She cited a situation in Wapello County where a train that was hauling coal had derailed.

?They haul all kinds of stuff on trains,? she said. She also said she is not allowed to say some of the things that are being hauled by train, saying only she believes every railroad has hazardous material being transported.

Reisen said any time she can have a state-run training to the area she feels will benefit area responders, she said she plans to try to get them. She said she has requests in for other trainings during the next year.

?Without the training, if something happens and you don?t know what to do, it just exacerbates the situation,? she said. ?If you feel comfortable with the situation because you have trained, it is not going to be as big of a deal.?