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CSX Safety Train Reaches More Than 2,000 First Responders on 18-City Tour

CSX’s “Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program” recently completed its 2014 tour, training 2,022 first responders from more than 350 public safety organizations in 18 cities. Using a rolling classroom and rail cars, the program provides firefighters, police officers, emergency management professionals and other first responders with insights on how rail cars work and how to respond to rail-related incidents. The program was offered in partnership with the Firefighters Training and Education Foundation.

“The Safety Train is just one example of CSX’s commitment to helping first responders prepare for potential rail-related incidents,” said Skip Elliott, vice president, public safety, health and environment, CSX. “In 2014 we expanded our outreach with first responders and emergency personnel to include training specific to crude-oil movements along key routes. Interest from public-safety employees was tremendous and we are happy to have had the chance to partner with so many different agencies.”

The 2014 CSX Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program tour began in Philadelphia in May and made 19 stops in cities along CSX’s principal freight routes, ending with a return visit to South Kearny, N.J., November 18-20. Along the way, it has trained first responders in Eddystone, Del.; Garrett and Indianapolis, Ind.; Chicago, Ill.; Erie, Pa.; Albany, Buffalo, Kingston, New York, Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y.; Cleveland and Willard, Ohio; Nashville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; and Charleston, W.Va.

The CSX Safety Train comprises a locomotive, four tank cars, one flat car equipped with a variety of tank-car valves and fittings, two classroom cars and a caboose. CSX hazardous-material specialists lead training sessions with specific instruction on how crude oil and other hazardous materials are shipped. The training and instruction help strengthen CSX’s partnership with first responders and provide a higher level of emergency readiness.

“What a huge benefit,” said LeeAnn McKay of the Homewood Acres, Ill., Volunteer Fire Department, who participated in Chicago. “You can tell me, but when you show me how to put on the gasket, close the valve and stop the leak—that’s what sticks.”
“This is a great opportunity for first responders and the railroad for partnership,” said Rob Scharnhorst, fire chief for Riverdale, Ill., who participated in training with a dozen other fire fighters from Riverdale in August.

“This particular training is extremely important to law enforcement because we don’t get this at the (police) academy,” said Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra, who visited the Safety Train training in Kingston, N.Y. “Now we have a better understanding of what can and can’t happen.”

The CSX Safety Train is just one of several programs through which CSX offers training and recognition to emergency responders and customers. CSX has reached more than 100,000 first responders over the past six years, through hands-on sessions at training centers operated by CSX and the Association of American Railroads, classroom training at local fire stations, exercises and table-top drills, web-based and self-study training courses and the Safety Train. Also in 2014, CSX hosted more than 90 first responders from 30 communities across the CSX network at crude-by-rail incident response training at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) in Pueblo, Colo.

“Safety is CSX’s first priority,” said Romano De Simone, CSX director-hazardous materials. “Through training opportunities like the Safety Train, we bring skill- and knowledge-based programs directly to first responders across our network and better equip first responders to make fact-based decisions that protect the public.”