NORFOLK, Va. — First responders from across the United States sharpened their skills at responding to hazardous materials incidents during Norfolk Southern-sponsored tank car safety classes this year at the Transportation Technology Center Inc., near Pueblo, Colo.
One hundred thirteen students attended the five-day, 40-hour courses at TTCI’s Emergency Response Training Center, which provides training in classes that simulate train, truck and barge accidents.
Located on 52 square miles of isolated high desert, the TTCI campus includes 48 miles of specialized tracks to test locomotives, vehicles, track components and signal devices. Some 80 rail cars, intermodal and highway vehicles, and containers are used to provide realistic training exercises.
Participants received hands-on training to assess tank car damage, make repairs and transfer hazardous materials from damaged equipment. Students practiced wearing protective clothing and using self-contained breathing apparatus. For their final exercise, they participated in a simulated hazardous-material accident in order to learn how to work with railroads during emergencies and how to stay safe while on railroad property.
Since 1998, NS has sponsored 17 training programs at TTCI that have been attended by 712 emergency responders, NS employees and contractors. Norfolk Southern also offers free hazardous material training programs to the communities it serves. These classes have reached 34,183 emergency responders since 1997.