Thursday, 16 March 2023 08:55

East Palestine Update: First Responder Training For Rail Disasters Featured

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First Responders, including volunteer firefighters, police, and other emergency personnel, can now sign up for training on how to deal with rail disasters.

This is in direct response to last month's Norfolk Southern train derailment that resulted in a catastrophic spill of toxic chemicals into the ground, air, and water; a spill that is having a profound effect on area residents who have been complaining about both physical and mental health issues, who are worried about the potential loss of their livelihoods, and many who are also concerned about what might happen in the future to their crops and livestock.

The Division of the State Fire Marshal announced that first responders in Ohio can now register to attend rail response training sessions that focus on preparing for and responding to rail incidents involving hazardous materials.

Training will begin March 21 at the new Norfolk Southern Rail Response Training Center in Bellevue, Ohio. Governor DeWine and Norfolk Southern announced the creation of the training center last week. 

According to a release from the Governor's office, First Responders will receive instruction covering a variety of topics related to safety and tactical response for rail emergencies during the eight-hour training sessions. These topics include: 

  • Safety Around the Railroad
  • Understanding Rail Shipping Documents
  • Tank Car Identification & Assessment
  • Tank Car Valves & Fittings
  • Locomotive Emergencies
  • Responding to Railroad Emergencies
  • AskRail Mobile App
  • Response Strategies & Tactics

The free hands-on classes will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 13401 OH-4, Bellevue, Ohio., and lunch will be provided. 

In other East Palestine-related news, experts from the Ohio Department of Agricuture, and The Ohio State University, are continuing to look into ways to test for toxic chemical contamination ofplant materials and milk and egg products produced in the East Palestine area. One issue they're exploring, is what food-related testing exists, if any, for the chemical compounds related to the train derailment, what laboratories offer testing, and what thresholds are acceptable for safely produced products.

In the meantime, the Ohio Department of Agriculture continues to assure Ohioans that its food supply is safe and the risk to livestock remains low following the East Palestine train derailment. If a testing method can be identified, they say, the testing would occur "out of an abundance of caution."

The lack of tests and filtration available for those particular types of chemicals is actually a known issue, and one that I discussed recently with Jeff Bronowski, who is the Manager of the City of Akron's Water Supply Bureau, and with Christopher Miller, who is the CEO of a company that provides advanced water analyisis software for water supply bureaus in a number of communities, including Akron, Fontus Blue.

That point is part of a wide-ranging conversation about how water is tested and treated, what chemicals can be detected, and how there are certain "forever chemicals" of concern that are hard to remove. In fact, the US EPA just released proposed new rules dealing with those types of chemicals this week. 

CBS News just did a report on these new standards yesterday.

Meanwhile, as you listen to my report below, you'll note that in Ohio; it is not just East Palestine where toxic chemicals that could impact drinking water are a big issue. For example, the city of Dayton is suing the federal government right now to recover damages for toxic chemicals that have been leaching into their groundwater for years, from Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

Listen here, to my recent program on water treatment and safety issues in the Akron area, on This Week in Tech with Jeanne Destro.


For more information on developments in East Palestine, click here, for the latest update from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.


Read 2480 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 March 2023 11:57