Through a continued emergency preparedness partnership with Union Pacific (UP) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroads, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is the recipient of two, recently donated railroad tank cars for use as firefighting and hazardous materials training props.
One tank car has been placed at the Eugene/Springfield Fire Training Center, while the other was placed earlier this week at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.
These locations will serve as regional training sites for first responders from all over the state to gain invaluable hands-on knowledge and skills in preparing for response to a railroad incident.
In conjunction with the new tank car props, the OSFM has collaborated with Oregon's fire service training community, regional hazmat response teams, and UP and BNSF railroads to develop several hazmat-by-rail response training courses. These courses are offered free to first responders and provide the basic framework for a safe, effective, and efficient response to hazmat rail incidents.
In 2016, first responders from more than 50 public safety agencies have received more than 2,500 training hours from these courses. Attendees included firefighters, hazmat team technicians, emergency planners, and other hazmat rail responders.
"There's no real substitute for hands-on training," said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. "This partnership between the Office of State Fire Marshal, public safety agencies, and the railroads will serve to provide the most effective training in railroad hazmat incidents to first responders throughout the state."
Both UP and BNSF have committed to donating additional tank cars as they become available.