Emergency responders train to handle hazardous materials on trains

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Different trains carrying a variety of hazardous material move through Western New York neighborhoods every day.

In case of emergency, first responders need to know what’s on these cars and what equipment they’ll need to handle it.

RELATED | News 4 Investigates has looked into the danger of trains carrying crude oil and other potentially hazardous cargo traveling through neighborhoods

Michael Bethge, a manager with CSX, handles their hazardous materials systems.

He said, “Every response is different, every train is different no two trains are made up the same.”

Thursday, CSX brought its safety train to Buffalo to give local agencies a chance to see what they’re up against. Several local agencies, including the Coast Guard and Seneca Nation’s Emergency Management Agency, attended the rail yard training.

Carla Groleau with CSX’s Corporate Communications Department said, “Getting out here, getting outside climbing on top of some of these tanks, looking at these valves, hands on.”

Some information on these trains is available right away, but details on hazardous materials often aren’t available until a first responder gets on the scene.

There is debate about how much real-time information about the materials on these trains should be easily accessible because there’s fear over that information ending up in the wrong hands.

But in an emergency, there’s no debate over how much these first responders need to know.

Jeffrey Hartman, the head of the Erie County Regional Hazardous Materials Team, said, “The emergency responders that are going to be out there, first responding to an incident need to know what they’re looking at the more information that they have the more likely they’re going to make the right decision early on so they don’t inadvertently make something worse.”

The other piece of this is prevention and there is still a big push to get federal regulators to tighten regulations and keep older train cars off the tracks.

WIVB.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s