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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Flammable Liquid Unit Trains Response Curriculum

Monday, April 4, 2016

Online Resource Offers Responders a Flexible Approach to Pre-Incident Planning for Rail Incidents

WASHINGTON – The US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced the launch of the web-accessible Transportation Rail Incident Preparedness and Response (TRIPR) training resource, which provides emergency responders with critical information and best practices related to rail incidents involving Hazard Class 3 Flammable Liquids such as crude oil and ethanol.  This off-the-shelf training is available online and can be used anywhere throughout the country.

“TRIPR is the result of a concerted effort between federal agencies and rail safety stakeholders to improve emergency response organizations’ ability to prepare for and respond to rail incidents involving a release of flammable liquids like crude oil or ethanol,” said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. “We are committed to safety and providing responders with flexible, cost-effective training and resources that help them respond to hazmat incidents safely.”

TRIPR was developed in conjunction with other public safety agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and leverages the expertise of rail carriers and industry subject matter experts to better prepare first responders to safely manage incidents involving flammable liquids.

“Some of the most important actions we have taken during the last two years to increase the safety of transporting crude oil by rail have been providing more resources, better information and quality training for first responders. This web-based training is another tool to help first responders in communities large and small, urban and rural quickly and effectively respond if a derailment happens,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg.

The TRIPR curriculum focuses on key hazmat response functions and incorporates three animated training scenarios along with introductory videos to help instructors facilitate tabletop discussions.  The TRIPR resources offer a flexible approach to training first responders and emergency services personnel in pre-incident planning and response. Each module contains a PowerPoint presentation, Student Workbook and Instructor Lesson Plan. PHMSA plans to host a series of open houses throughout the country to promote the TRIPR curriculum.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has taken more than three dozen actions to increase the safety of energy products transported by rail in the last two years. In 2015, DOT released its comprehensive rule that raises the bar on the safety of transporting crude oil by rail.

The rule requires stronger tank cars and a new brake system that activates simultaneously on all tank cars, reduces the distance and time needed for a train to stop, and keeps more tank cars on the track if a train does derail. DOT has also required that railroads transporting crude oil notify State Emergency Response Commissions of the movement of crude oil through individual states.

Last summer, DOT announced that it would make the requirement for railroads to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) of the expected movement of Bakken crude oil trains permanent. This information then trickles down to first responders across states and counties. DOT has also partnered with the Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI), which is owned by the FRA and managed by the Association of American Railroads, to provide training for 1,500 first responders in TTCI’s Crude by Rail Training for First Responders course. The training at TTCI is provided at no cost to communities or first responders.

Click here to access the materials.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration develops and enforces regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation's 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air. Please visit for more information.