A new safety course on shipping crude oil by rail, designed for emergency response organizations and fire departments, is being introduced nationally this weekend at a hazardous materials conference in Hastings.
It was unveiled this week by the Association of American Railroads and the American Petroleum Institute.
The introductory course, offered free of charge, is available to first responders from the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response program, of which railroads and oil companies are members.
The safety course is now available through TRANSCAER and soon will be available in a DVD format. Course materials cover characteristics of crude oil, a description of the tank cars in which it is shipped, spill response, firefighting considerations and other information to help fire departments and other emergency response organizations learn about the safety of moving crude oil by rail.
The program will be offered at hazmat and emergency response conferences across North America, and course offerings are already confirmed or being planned in more than 15 states, AAR and API officials said in a joint press release.
Reports filed with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency show that BNSF Railway has been moving about a dozen oil trains a week in eastern Nebraska. Railroads must report trains that carry at least a million gallons of oil -- about 35 tank cars -- from the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana.