JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past four months, CSX's Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program, with rolling classrooms and specialized hands-on training, has trained more than 1,300 first responders from more than 250 organizations in more than a dozen cities and towns, in partnership with the Firefighters Training and Education Foundation. This enhanced training program offers fire fighters, police officers, emergency management professionals and other first responders insights on how rail cars work and how to deal with rail-related incidents.
"We want to make sure emergency responders along our rail lines receive the hands-on and classroom training to help them adequately prepare in the case of a train incident," said Skip Elliott, vice president, public health, safety and environment, CSX. "We have expanded our engagement with first responders and emergency personnel along key routes to include training specific to crude oil movements, and we remain committed to moving these materials safely and as efficiently as possible."
The CSX Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program began in Philadelphia in May 2014 and reached Chicago this week. Along the way, it has trained first responders in South Kearny, N.J.; Kingston, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and New York, N.Y.; Erie, Pa.; Cleveland and Willard, Ohio; and Garrett, Ind. Future training is planned for responders in the Mid-Atlantic this fall.
The CSX Safety 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. CSX hazardous material specialists lead training sessions with specific instruction on how crude oil and other hazardous materials are shipped. The train and instruction help strengthen CSX's partnership with first responders and provide a higher level of emergency readiness.
As training came to a close on Thursday outside Chicago, a number of local first responders offered their thoughts about the quality, benefit and importance of in the CSX Safety Train.
"This is a great opportunity for first responders and the railroad for partnership," said Rob Scharnhorst, fire chief for Riverdale, Illinois, who participated in training with a dozen other fire fighters from Riverdale.
"What a huge benefit," said LeeAnn McKay of the Homewood Acres, Illinois, Volunteer Fire Department. "You can tell me, but when you show me how to put on the gasket, close the valve and stop the leak—that's what sticks."
The CSX Safety Train is just one of a number of continuing programs through which CSX offers training and recognition to emergency responders and customers. CSX has reached more than 100,000 first responders over the past six years, through hands-on sessions at training centers operated by CSX and the Association of American Railroads, classroom training at local fire stations, exercises and table-top drills, web-based and self-study training courses and the Safety Train. In September 2013, nearly 100 crude oil customers were trained by a joint CSX team.
"Safety training, no matter where you go, always pays off," explained Romano De Simone, Director Hazardous Materials. "Better prepared responders can make better fact-based decisions to protect the public, which is why CSX continues to invest in skill- and knowledge-based training programs like the CSX Safety Train."
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For more than 185 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation's economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation's population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and small farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).
About the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation
The Firefighters Education and Training Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation based in Springfield, Massachusetts dedicated to providing the necessary equipment and training programs to teach emergency responders, railroad personnel and government officials on how to deal with railroad emergencies. Since it began in 1994, the Foundation has continued to expand its equipment and training to meet the needs of first responders across the United States. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.thesafetytrain.org.