Tag Archive for emergency

How to execute a world class solution to complex DOT tank cars rules

How to execute a world class solution to complex DOT tank cars rules.

Railway Age has a very important message about regulatory confusion. So many regulations. How do corporations cope?

http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/regulatory/survey- says-complex-hazmat-transport- regs-would-even-challenge-einstein.html

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Regulators tell you what to change or to do. They don’t tell you how to execute..

“They in fact seldom give advise about the myriad choices of how to comply”. They do not provide training either.

There is a company called STARS that can help you. Starting with training, like I received this past week.

From the RAILWAY AGE current issue :– here is added background discussion this week..

“Is complying with the multitude of regulations for the transport of hazardous materials—also known as dangerous goods (DG)—truly a challenge? According to 136 shipping executives surveyed online in April 2015 by Labelmaster , a provider of solutions for hazardous material transport compliance, even Albert Einstein would have had problems figuring out some of the rules.

More than half of the 136 executives polled—56%—said the brainy Einstein would have difficulties figuring out the 49 CFR, one of the government’s primary reference books that cover regulations, requirements and standards for U.S. hazmat transportation via highway, rail, air and water.

The survey also revealed a majority—59%—find it a challenge to keep with the ever- changing dangerous goods regulations.

As one example, 14% say that “the regulations are confusing—everyone has a different interpretation.” And the regulatory inspectors provide no or little help. Most DG professionals are looking for training and integrated solutions to simplify their role as to what to do now.


There is a real quandary as to “should we retrofit” or “should we abandon what migh be a suitable sunk capital fleet and switch to all new tank cars”?

Washington safety agencies lack the skills to give you guidance. Who pays for the retro fits? Washington has no idea. Why?

Because the thousands of already operating cars are subjects of complex lease agreements. Regulators don’t live in that complex world.

As a business example, if you use DOT type CPC-1232 tank cars, and your lease expires before the mandatory April Fools date of 4/1/2020, how do you handle the financial accounting for any improvements/modifications made between the lessor and the lessee? And exactly what technical modifications should you consider given the liability issues of a failure?

Who do you turn to to for such critical advise? The car manufacturers? Or a source of independent due diligence? Remember that on average you might pay around $60,000 a car for a retro-fit on a tank car with more than 20 years remaining life. But on a new tank car the cost might be more than $135,000.

As an insurance question to your broker, how would the insurance risk be perceived between the retro fit and the new car option? Do they calculate that value difference for you?

The economics are so complex that a special survey is being conducted with the results to be published in an upcoming Railway Age issue. You can contact dnahass@railfin.com for more about this. Or contact http://www.starsconsulting.org/ for a second professional opinion.

New mobile application for First Responders to crude oil trains accident could be INFO breakthrough

Under development since last fall, the AskRail mobile phone application gives local responders essential train commodity hazardous information even without train on board train information available from the train crew or if it is difficult to reach local BNSF train offices or train dispatchers.

Demo given by the BNSF railroad in Chicago.

A French language version to be released soon for Canada.

Other rail carriers can also use the software application developed in part with RailLinc technical assistance.

Software use will now become part of hazmat training provided by the rail companies.

Other carriers besides BNSF can choose to use the application.


Fire fighters tell their side of resulting fire from oil train accidents

Cude Oil train in Interstate median in front of cntral Albany capital area Crude Oil Train passing adjacent capital area of Albany NY

From a TV report on 06/08/2015 6:59 PM by WNYT.com ALBANY NEW YORK
By: Samantha DiMascio

(DISCLOSURE: My Uncle Jim was a career fireman in Milwaukee)

Firefighters confronted by catastrophic oil train derailments shared their stories with people in Albany today. It was part of a summit put on by the Albany County Executive, and Sheriff at the College of St. Rose.

Over the last five years, the amount of crude oil traveling through Albany has tripled

One listener said that what we learned today is that you cannot fight the fire, you have to run away from the fire and let it burn out.  That is the same message I received when at a seminar in April in Easton PA.  Mostly we evacuate and let it burn out said the fire marshal in Easton.

A local Albany sheriff said warned that on a bigger scale “we didn’t think about the oil going into the sewer systems, taking out water systems, taking out infrastructure”.  Those are worst case scenarios that we might not be able to handle.

A Battalion Chief from Lynchburg, VA had an oil train derail in his city. He stressed to the audience in Albany the need for depth in the emergency response system. “You’ve got to have people in place to backfill positions, you have to have those command functions filled and people able to come in place of someone else’s absence. Because you cannot just ignore other possible fires and incidents happening in your town while you fight the train fire for multiple days.

To put manpower and equipment resources in perspective, Lac Megantic depleted resources from 85 different fire departments over the course of their three week disaster response. “That would wipe out all of Albany County’s 48 departments and put a sizeable dent in surrounding county services” said one Albany firefighter.  Imagine what that might do in an even larger urban area with more population both residential and working day time employees to possibly evacuate.

Who has calculated that catastrophic risk scenario and how recovery and claims would be paid?

For more go to: http://wnyt.com/article/stories/s3820216.shtml

On Oil Train Safety, the Railroad Industry Needs to Lead, Or It Might Be Pushed Out of the Way

Response crews for the West Virginia train derailment continue to monitor the burning of the derailed rail cars near Mount Carbon next to the Kanawha River, Feb. 18, 2015. The West Virginia Train Derailment Unified Command continues to work with federal, state and local agencies on the response efforts for the train derailment that occurred near Mount Carbon, Feb. 15, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Angie Vallier)

I have been puzzling about how long it has been – more than 650 days – since the Quebec oil train explosion accident, with little substantive progress in making the transport of these trains safer.

Is it too explosive to handle? Are the trains too dangerous at any speed? Is it not worth the market effort, as some suggest? I’m still wondering about both the economics and the safety issues, and worrying about the safety of emergency first responders like my uncle and grandfather.

What’s missing in the railroad industry today?

Someone who says “the buck stops here!”

Read more

Virginia looks to improve emergency response at rail accidents

A Nevada National Guardsman with the 92nd Civil Support Team conducts a simulated search and rescue at a vacant building near the Community College of Aurora, Colo., July 23, 2013, during a notional F4 tornado as part of Colorado's 2013 Vigilant Guard exercise. Vigilant Guard is a series of federally funded disaster-response drills conducted by National Guard units working with federal, state and local emergency management agencies and first responders. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares/Released)

Safety oversight may be a federally regulated responsibility for railway traffic like hazmats and crude oil.

However, responding to an actual derailment and possible fires and evacuations of nearby people is the clear responsibility of local community and state agencies. Governors, mayors, and fire fighters are wrestling with technical issues on how to be better prepared. With or without federal help.

Here, briefly, is how rail experts in Virginia see the local and state technical issues. Other states like Pennsylvania and Minnesota are tacking the question for their elected officials. Reports from those states on improving and managing rail safety are expected later this month.