Norfolk Southern Corporation’s (NYSE: NSC) safety train rolled into Greenville, S.C., this week, hosting 213 area emergency responders who received advanced training in safely handling potential rail incidents involving hazardous materials.
“The safety train is a mobile technical training center – a vocational school – for the continuing education of first responders and representatives of government agencies who support Norfolk Southern’s commitment to incident-free handling of hazardous materials,” said David Schoendorfer, Norfolk Southern’s system manager hazardous materials. “It’s a whistle-stop train that helps keep our communities safe.”
Staged this week at Norfolk Southern’s Greenville rail yard, the safety training attracted representatives of 18 area agencies, including fire departments from Bradley County, Crosswell, Easley City, Gantt, Greenville City, Mauldin, Parker, Pickens, Piedmont Park, Poplar Springs, Silverstreet, South Greenville, Taylors, and Wade Hampton. Sheriff’s offices from Greenville County and Spartanburg County and the Anderson County Hazmat Team also attended.
Captain Mike Marlow, a 30-year veteran of the Greenville City Fire Department, brought 90 of his firefighters to attend the classes. “This is essential training for every community with train tracks going through its town,” Marlow said. “We are now better prepared to respond in the event of a railroad emergency with the knowledge of how to stay safe around trains and rail equipment.”
The safety train is visiting 18 cities in 13 states during its inaugural tour this year. To date, 1,423 emergency responders have received professional instruction on the train. At every location, responders can choose to attend one of the free four-hour classes offered over a three-day period that include instructor-led and hands-on learning. The train includes two boxcars converted into classrooms, four types of railroad tank cars used in transporting all types of chemicals, and two specially equipped flat cars.
“Norfolk Southern has a great safety record, but in the unlikely event of a train derailment involving hazmat, we want to make sure the communities we serve are prepared,” Schoendorfer said. “We are focusing on areas where we have significant hazmat shipments. It’s a best business practice to help with preparedness.”
The train’s next stops will be Oct. 11-13 in Atlanta; Oct. 25-27 in Chattanooga; Nov. 8-10 in Slidell, La.; and Nov. 12-13 in Columbia, S.C., during the Southeastern HazMat School.
To register in advance for upcoming training, visit www.joinNSoar.com and click on “Training” and “Download Invitation” near the bottom of the page. The training is beneficial for all emergency responders, including representatives of fire departments, law enforcement, emergency medical services, hazmat response teams, emergency management personnel, military, homeland security personnel, rail regulators, shippers, and customers.
The dedicated safety train is part of Norfolk Southern’s ”Operation Awareness and Response” initiative launched in 2015 to educate the public about the safe movement of hazardous materials by rail and to connect emergency first responders in Norfolk Southern communities with information and training resources. Including instruction on the train and through other course offerings, Norfolk Southern in 2016 has trained more than 4,000 local emergency responders throughout its operating territory.
About Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products.
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