JULY 2016 TRAINING BRIEF DOWNLOAD LINK:
The June 2016 Joint Multi-Company Drill for Penn, Warren, SWCFT and Mishawaka Firefighters is oil train emergencies and foam firefighting. The Elkhart & Western Railroad in conjunction with the Pioneer Railway Corporation where able to spot a tank car next to the Apple Road Training Facility for the members to use for car familiarization training. Clay Fire brought Foam 4 down so members could familiarize themselves with its operation and INSERV supplied their knowledge of crude by rail car cleaning. Additionally Penn Firefighters Greg Mack, Tony Reeves and Lt. Durgan Spinsky who all have attended SERTC on Crude by Rail Training helped with the instruction and question/answer session. This training is important as we as responders deal basically with soda cans on wheels. That’s what some call the dangerous rail tank cars that have suddenly become ubiquitous across the American landscape. In the rush to transport land-locked unconventional new crude oil sources, old rail lines running through communities across America are now rattling with thousands of cars filled with crude oil. Neither the cars nor the railroads were built for this purpose. Worse, federal regulators have few safeguards in place to protect communities and the environment from accidents, spills and explosions resulting from the race to move millions of barrels of crude by rail.
Most of the rail tank cars used to carry flammable liquids, including crude oil are old “DOT-111s,” which are widely known to be unsafe. Speaking at a farewell address at the National Press Club in April 2014, outgoing National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairwoman Deborah Hersman repeated a long-held NTSB position that unmodified DOT-111 tank cars — non-pressurized rail tank cars that accident investigators report are easily punctured or ruptured during a derailment — are not safe to carry hazardous liquids. “Carrying corn oil is fine, carrying crude oil is not,” she said.
Thus, in 2009, the NTSB recommended these tank cars be equipped with additional safety features. Since October 2011, new rail tank cars built for transporting crude oil have incorporated these features, such as the use of head shields, thicker tank material, and pressure-relief devices. Yet regulators have not eliminated the use of the older, unmodified DOT-111 cars for carrying oil — out of 39,000 DOT-111 tank cars now used to carry crude, two-thirds still do not meet these modern safety standards. The Department of Transportation, simply recommended that shippers stop using these cars to transport oil, but they do not require it.