HERMON – First responders from across the state are being trained to deal with freight train emergency situations.
“This tank car shows the multiple setup that you can see on any tank car out on the railroad, including all the external fittings as well internal workings of the tank car,” said David Baker, the director of operating practices.
The country has been seeing a lot of rail accidents in the last few years- with some tank cars filled with chemicals. A joint effort is in the works to provide training for local communities and first responders.
“This training is important so that these local area responders have a chance to understand how to change valves – identify issues and correct them,” said Ryan Ratledge, the president and CEO of Center Maine & Quebec Railway.
They are learning how to respond to calls on derailments of dangerous goods.
“It’s to make them aware of railway operations, the safety aspect of the railway operations, know a little bit more of what to expect on a derailment site,” said Jean Pierre Courture, the transportation dangers goods specialist.
While safe transportation has always been the goal, first responders haven’t always gotten the proper training to deal with these situations. This was especially evident during the Lac-Megantic train crash in 2013, causing more than 40 deaths.
“We took the railroad over after that and have done a immense of work and spent a lot of money,” said Baker, “But the most important thing that we have done is our outreach to our communities and training to our employees.”
The new company is stressing the importance of safe and efficient methods of freight transportation.
“While that was a very devastating and catastrophic in nature, they’re smaller situations,” said Ratledge, “Small releases that need to be corrected.”
First responders toured the inside and out of tank cars to learn what to do in crisis situations.
“We don’t want them to rush in because in their line of work – their major objective is to save lives,” said Courture.