CSX's Safety Train program offers first responder training

CSX's "Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program" will soon begin traveling over the company's crude oil service territory to provide first responder training.

The train, which features rolling classrooms and specialized hands-on training, will visit numerous communities in Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania beginning in mid-May. The enhanced training program offered by the Safety Train offers firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians and other first responders insights on both how rail cars work and how to deal with rail incidents.

"As the market for shipping crude oil has grown, so has our commitment to and responsibility for moving those shipments safely and efficiently," Skip Elliott, CSX's vice president-public safety, health and environment, said. "This year, in light of increased crude oil movements on our network, we have expanded our engagement with first responders and emergency personnel along key routes to include training specific to crude oil movements.

"The development of shale oil represents a tremendous opportunity for our nation to move closer to energy independence, to grow our economy and to create jobs," Elliot said. "Freight rail, with its terrific fuel efficiency and ability to reduce highway congestion and maintenance requirements, has a critical role in this opportunity. But it also comes with great responsibility."

The train is comprised of a locomotive, four tank cars, one flat car equipped with a variety of tank car valves and fittings, two classroom cars and a caboose, as well as hazardous material specialists who lead training sessions with specific instruction on how crude oil is shipped.

The train and its instructional programs aid in strengthening CSX's partnership with first responders while providing a higher state of emergency readiness.

"As soon as Delaware County asked CSX to arrange for training in preparation for the upcoming crude oil unit trains, they quickly worked with us and their partners to conduct emergency response training for our first responders," Edwin J. Truitt, the director of the Delaware County (Pa.) Department of Emergency Services, said. "This is what comes from maintaining an effective working relationship with our partners at the railroads."