News & Press

First Responders Complete Crude-By-Rail Safety Training at State-of-the-Art Facility in Colorado

CSX recently hosted crude-by-rail incident response training for 40 first responders representing 30 communities around the CSX network at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) in Pueblo, Colorado.

The firefighters and police officers from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia completed three days of training with hazardous materials specialists and instructors from CSX and the Association of American Railroads.

The training focused on preparation for and emergency response to railroad incidents involving crude oil, and included an overview of the history of crude oil extraction, chemical and physical properties of different types of crude oil currently being transported, incident site and damage assessment, and tank car design and construction. Participants also practiced specialized response techniques and incident command scenarios during mock derailments.

Capt. Kathleen Thompson, a 19-year veteran with the Grand Rapids (MI) Fire Department, said, “I believe I will make my department and the city I serve safer by attending this program. Not only did we hear some pretty extensive lectures on the science of crude oil and case histories on incidents, but more importantly we participated in multiple hands-on, crude oil live-fire scenarios. And I now have met and made connections with experts I can rely on if I ever have the need.”

Commander Tim Henderson of the Nashville Fire Department Special Operations Division said, “The training we have received at SERTC over the past few years and our continued relationship with CSX hazmat professionals have been a tremendous benefit to our personnel. The training regarding crude oil movements by rail is a great experience and the information we received from CSX employees is exceptional.”

“As a rural county, our ability to fund training of this caliber is nonexistent, so we are very appreciative of CSX for the opportunity to participate in this training,” said Deputy Fire Coordinator Daniel Imfeld of the Chautauqua County, New York HAZMAT Team. “This training will not only help us in the event of a crude oil incident but gives us the fundamentals to respond to many hazardous materials situations.”

The event marked the latest step in CSX’s ongoing commitment to provide a variety of training opportunities for first responders across its network. CSX’s training reaches more than 7,000 first responders each year through hands-on sessions like those operated at SERTC, classroom training at local fire stations, exercises and table-top drills, web-based and self-study training courses. The hands-on and classroom safety training helps strengthen CSX’s partnership with first responders and provide a higher level of emergency readiness.

Earlier this year the CSX Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program visited many of these communities to train more than 1,300 local first responders in partnership with the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation. The Safety Train will make several stops in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest this fall.

“This training demonstrates CSX’s commitment to helping the first responders throughout our network prepare both in the classroom and in the field for potential rail-related incidents,” said Skip Elliott, vice president, public health, safety and environment, CSX. “In addition to our CSX Operation Respond mobile application launched recently, the SERTC training brings the right information to the right people to help protect the communities we serve.”


Participating organizations

Atmore Fire Department
Montgomery Fire and Rescue

Bartow County Fire Department

City of East St. Louis Fire Department
Fairmont City Fire Department

Henderson Fire Department

Grand Rapids Fire Department
Livingston County Hazardous Materials Team

North Carolina
Asheville Fire Department
Charlotte Fire Department

New Jersey
Kearny Fire Department
Bergen County Police Department
Teaneck Fire Department

New York
Auburn Fire Department
Stafford Fire Department
Buffalo Fire Department
Chautauqua Emergency Services
Chautauqua County Hazardous Materials Response Team
Kingston Fire Department

Fostoria Fire Division
Tiffin Fire and Rescue Division
Willard Fire Department

Montgomery County Hazardous Materials Team
Philadelphia Fire Department
Trevose Fire Department

Nashville Fire Department

Newport News Fire Department
Selma Volunteer Fire Department
Wise County Hazardous Materials