The University of Findlay’s All-Hazards Training Center has been awarded a $611,000 federal grant to train volunteers and remote emergency responders on how to properly respond to train derailments involving hazardous materials spills, particularly crude oil.
The funding will be used to conduct between 60 and 70 one-day training events within a 500-mile radius of Findlay, said training center Executive Director Randy Van Dyne. Participants will learn how to respond to incidents that involve rail shipments of crude oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids.
The one-year grant was competitive, with some contenders being large, federally-funded entities that were vying for the money. It was provided by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which chose three nonprofit organizations as recipients. Up to $5.9 million was available to award.
Train derailments that result in hazardous materials spills occasionally happen within the city and region. Findlay itself has two railroads running through it, one owned by CSX and the other by Norfolk Southern. A 2011 derailment in Arcadia, which happened at night after a heavy snowfall, overturned cars containing ethanol and caused a large explosion. Volunteer firefighters were the first to respond to the scene.
Railway spill cleanup requires multifaceted approaches. Responders must contend with the materials themselves, address environmental concerns, in some cases evacuate nearby residents, inform the media, and more.
UF’s training participants will receive hands-on instruction in incident control, confinement and containment techniques to protect people, property and the environment. Along with lessons on the hazards involved with flammable liquid spills, this training will also teach responders how to recognize different railcar construction features, specifically next generation features for crude oil cars.
“The All-Hazards Training Center was selected to receive the award because of our long history of successfully delivering hands-on training to first responders across the country,” said training center Executive Director Randy Van Dyne.
In 2014 alone, the center taught more than 11,000 people at 270 locations in more than 40 states. Topics range from school safety to maritime security. Specific courses are offered throughout the year, and the center offers customized training. For more information, visit www.findlayallhazards.com; or contact Van Dyne at (419) 434-4572, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.