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Rail and Chemical Companies Recognized for Efforts to Enhance Community Safety

April 21, 2009
The National Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER) Task Group (NTTG) recently presented the 2008 TRANSCAER National Achievement Award to four companies committed to helping communities prepare for and respond to possible hazardous materials transportation incidents.

Companies attending the event will receive their award at the 22nd Annual Association of American Railroad and Bureau of Explosives Hazardous Materials Seminar at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri on May 19.

“TRANSCAER and the resources it makes available are intended to help safeguard the public by providing first responders with the information and training they need to effectively respond in the unlikely event of a chemical transportation incident,” said Rollie Shook, CPP, emergency services and security senior leader of The Dow Chemical Co. and chairperson of NTTG. “This is a great outreach tool that gives companies the chance to let communities know they are committed to ensuring the safe and secure transportation of potentially hazardous products.”

TRANSCAER companies train local emergency responders through a combination of hands-on activities, emergency planning assistance, and community drills and exercises. They include the use of actual rail and truck equipment, table-top exercises that are verbal “walkthroughs” that discuss responses to a possible emergency situation, and whistle-stop tours that bring emergency preparedness training to response organizations and educate communities near major rail routes about rail equipment and chemical transportation.

This year’s winners are BNSF Railway Co., The Norfolk Southern Corp., The Dow Chemical Co., and Union Pacific Railroad. The recipients trained more than 13,000 first responders through numerous events nationwide last year.

In addition, the 2008 Regional Achievement Award was presented to Pennsylvania TRANSCAER and the Chairman’s Award was presented to Robert C. Blake, Bayer Corp.,
John O’Neill, Firefighters Education & Training Foundation, and Donna L. Lepik, TRANSCAER. Louis J. Wagner of Union Pacific Railroad received the Distinguished Service Award.

The following companies’ achievements went beyond the normal call of duty to advocate, demonstrate, and implement the principles of TRANSCAER.

BNSF Railway Co., Fort Worth, Texas
BNSF’s Haz Mat team provided training to more than 4500 first responders in 17 states and sponsored more than 200 TRANSCAER events in 2008, including tours in Iowa, Colorado, and Washington. BNSF Railway operates in 28 states with 33,000 track miles in the central, western, and southeastern U.S. and transports approximately 1.2 million shipments of hazardous materials annually.

The Norfolk Southern Railroad, Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk Southern Railroad transports hazardous materials through 22 states. TRANSCAER exercises were held in 14 states and in 164 cities last year. The company’s efforts provided training to more than 4354 emergency responders.

The Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Michigan
Dow sponsored two TRANSCAER tours in 2008 where more than 1200 participants were trained. The Michigan TRANSCAER Tour included a 16-day schedule and the Gulf Coast Tour included a 10-city schedule. Dow ships hazardous materials along the Mississippi River corridor which includes Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois.

The Union Pacific Railroad, Omaha, Nebraska
Union Pacific is the largest railroad in North America, with 38,650 miles of track. In 2008, UP trained more than 3035 emergency responders in 172 classes and participated in more than 117 TRANSCAER related events. UP has trained 168,913 non-employee emergency responders since 1979.

Pennsylvania TRANSCAER
PATC distinguished itself as a leader in preparedness by undertaking extensive community outreach and training at the county level. It sponsored four interactive tabletop/functional emergency response exercises for county and local emergency responders in 2008.       

TRANSCAER is sponsored by the American Chemistry Council, Association of American Railroads, Renewable Fuels Association, CHEMTREC, The Chlorine Institute Inc., the National Association of Chemical Distributors, and National Tank Truck Carriers Inc. For more information, visit www.TRANSCAER.org.