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BNSF trains more than 900 Washington first responders in 2015

SEATTLE, Wash.–BNSF Railway said it has trained more than 900 Washington state first responders during community hazmat training sessions held throughout the state this year. This includes 56 first responders who attended a three-day session held last week in Marysville.

The railroad sent another 91 Washington firefighters to specialized crude-by-rail training at the national railroad research and training facility in Pueblo, Colo. Those classes began in April and continued through the end of July. Firefighters from 52 communities participated in the Colorado training.

Over the past two years, BNSF has underwritten the travel and training expenses for more than 260 firefighters from across Washington to attend the national training, which helps ensure first responders are well-equipped to address the unique characteristics associated with the movement of crude-by-rail.

Providing training at the national center is one of the steps the railroad voluntarily agreed to last year in its ongoing efforts to improve the safety of crude-by-rail and to work with communities on emergency preparedness, said the release.

During a typical community training, clear and concise information on what to expect in an emergency is provided, such as how to read placards, train list documents and what kinds of emergency response resources BNSF will deploy. As part of the training, BNSF also conducts hands-on workshops using the railroad’s training tank cars. This training focuses on familiarization with the variety of pressure and general service tank cars that travel on the BNSF network.

Part of the training also focuses on ASKRAIL, a new secure mobile application that allows swift access by emergency responders to necessary rail car information. ASKRAIL, which was created by BNSF and the other Class I railroads, provides first responders immediate access to accurate, timely data about what type of hazardous materials a railcar is carrying so they can make an informed decision about how to respond to a rail emergency. 

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