Northfolk Southern holds first responder safety training

  • Norfolk Southern hosted a safety training with first responders in three states
  • First responders learned how to identify train cars and their contents
  • The company continues to face scrutiny over East Palestine

WADDY, KY – JANUARY 5: A westbound Norfolk Southern Corp. freight train passes along tracks January 6, 2014 in Waddy, Kentucky. Intermodal rail traffic in the United States increased 10.6% in the last week of 2013 compared to the same week in 2012 according to a report from the Association of American Railroads. Volumes rose due in part to demand from retailers restocking store shelves and distribution centers following the holiday retail crush. (Photo by Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Norfolk Southern — the company at the epicenter of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — recently completed rail safety trainings for first responders from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The trainings, which were scheduled before the disaster in East Palestine, provided an opportunity for first responders, including those from East Palestine itself, to learn how to tackle these crises.

“It’s a huge benefit to be able to come up and take this class,” East Palestine Fire Chief Keith Drabick said. “Learn specifics about the trains, how to identify stuff on the trains, product and what to do in case something does happen.” 

The trainings included identifying tank cars, interpreting rail shipping documents and using an app that helps first responders look up information on rail shipments.

“We learned a lot about train cars, basically,” said Kevin Neimeyer, Hamler Volunteer Fire Department chief. “How everything is put together, how you identify them and how things have changed, too.” 

“Railroad incidents are so rare, but we want to make sure that we have something to offer first responders, so they have that hands-on experience so that they have some of that muscle memory if they ever were to respond to one,” Norfolk Southern spokesman Connor Spielmaker explained.

The company’s CEO recently defended Norfolk Southern’s safety record in testimony before the U.S. Senate. Some members of Congress are pushing for new rail safety regulations following the derailment in East Palestine.


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