Press-Republican

Thursday

July 3, 2014

First responders briefed on derailments

PORT HENRY — Emergency services personnel from all over Essex County converged on Port Henry recently to learn how to handle potentially dangerous train derailments.

The training from Canadian Pacific Railway Hazmat Officer Scott Kroome included basics on just about everything related to railroad emergencies.

“It’s basically Railroad 101,” he said before the session started at the Port Henry Knights of Columbus Building.

“It includes (railroad) car and valve identification, contacts, paperwork. It’s an introduction to everything TransCAER.”

TransCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) is an outreach effort that focuses on assisting communities to prepare for and respond to a possible hazardous-materials transportation incident.

Port Henry Fire Chief James Hughes praised Canadian Pacific for being proactive and offering the training.

“It’s an introduction for fire, EMS, first responders, in the event of a railroad disaster,” Hughes said. “We’re getting introduced to information on tank cars and locomotives. We hope to walk away with a better understanding of what it’s all about.”

He said they requested that Canadian Pacific Railway provide the training and the company obliged.

“CP Railway has been very responsive to any questions we’ve raised. We see them as a partner in this.”

‘PREPARE’

Canadian Pacific has an excellent safety record, Kroome told those at the training.

“Derailments involving Canadian Pacific are rare. We’re going to get into design and construction of the tank cars in the event something should occur.’

Railroad shipments of Bakken crude from North Dakota have been in the public eye since a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway oil train derailment and explosion in Lac-MéganticQuebec, that killed 47 people in July 2013.

A crude oil train last December in Cheektowaga, near Buffalo, also derailed, but no one was injured.

“We were the first in the region to request this training, in light of disasters they’ve had in Canada and western New York,” Hughes said. “They (CP Railway) were very responsive.

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