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HazMat by Rail

We centralize the training, preparedness, and response planning with a specific focus on oil or hazardous material spills or releases that occur during rail transport. This law mandates the Office of State Fire Marshal to adopt by rule, a plan for the coordinated response to oil or hazardous material spills or releases that occur during rail transport, and to coordinate training for emergency responders.
  • ​Mosier derailment – The emergency response phase of this incident went exceptionally well and this has been credited to the pre-planning, training, and exercises conducted in the time leading up to this incident. Several personnel on this incident, from different agencies, not only had attended Crude Oil Emergency Response and Tank Car Specialist Courses in Pueblo Colorado, but they also had attended a tabletop training that took place in The Dalles just weeks prior that mirrored many aspects of this incident. By continually pre-planning, training and exercising we were able to establish both the personnel and agency relationships well prior to this incident occurring which also added to the positive outcome of this incident.
  • Eugene derailment – This derailment included concerns of an overturned liquefied petroleum gas tank car. A quick response by local responders, a regional HazMat team, and railroad personnel kept the incident contained.
  • A number of minor incidents involving small spills, upright derailments, and other mishaps (often in rail yards or during non-transit operations) occur from time-to-time, but are non-hazardous in nature and are quickly mitigated by railroad personnel in consultation and collaboration with ODOT HazMat rail inspectors or local fire departments.

​We have developed several levels of HazMat Rail training ranging from basic to very advanced. We were able to create these opportunities with support from our rail partners and talented instructors within the Regional HazMat Teams. The first level of training offered has been to provide local fire departments with a brief overview (approx. 3hrs) of Basic HazMat Rail response and preparedness. The next level is a HazMat Rail Emergency Response Operations course which includes hands-on practice of response and mitigation tactics that can be used on rail incidents by firefighters. The final, and most advanced, course developed is designed for Oregon’s Regional HazMat Teams. It provides them with technical expertise as a Tank Car Specialist (TCS). The course covers very technical and job specific functions of a HazMat Team member during a HazMat Rail incident. The goal of the TCS course is to train several HazMat Team members from each region to this level of expertise.

  • HazMat Rail Emergency Response Awareness This 3-hour course is designed to provide emergency responders the basic knowledge and awareness level training in response to a HazMat by rail incident.
  • HazMat Rail Emergency Response Operations  This 8-hour course is designed to provide emergency responders the basic knowledge and operations level training in response to a HazMat by rail incident.
  • HazMat Tank Car Specialist This 40-hour course provides technical knowledge pertaining to tank cars, including damage assessment, oversight for product removal, and movement of damaged tank and other rail cars present. Training will cover site assessments of incidents, damage assessments of the containers, and product removal using different transfer techniques on the various DOT containers used in rail transportation.
  • HazMat Incident Commander This 16-hour program meets OSHA and NFPA standards to qualify incident commanders to manage hazardous materials incidents.  The intent of these standards are to provide an incident command system that is headed up by a single person who does not necessarily have extensive knowledge about the classification and verification of hazardous materials, but rather who is able to manage emergencies of differing severity, as well as oversee the rest of the HazMat team.

​Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads provided 8 Foam Firefighting Trailers which are strategically placed throughout Oregon along mainline track where the majority of the crude oil and other hazardous commodities travel.

Trailers reside at fire agencies ready for rapid deployment to emergency incidents requiring large quantities of foam and reside along mainline track where crude oil by rail is predominately shipped.

Trailers are available for any type of fire requiring large quantities of foam application for suppression purposes. They are staffed and available to respond any time with the following fire agencies:

  • Eugene Springfield Fire Department (co-located with OSFM HazMat Team #2)
  • Gresham Fire and Emergency Services (co-located with OSFM HazMat Team #3)
  • Klamath County Fire District #1 (co-located with OSFM HazMat Team #4)
  • Ontario Fire Department (co-located with OSFM HazMat Team #14)
  • Portland Fire and Rescue Bureau (co-located with OSFM HazMat Team #7)
  • Salem Fire Department (co-located with OSFM HazMat Team #13)
  • Pendleton Fire Department and Ambulance Service
  • Redmond Fire and Rescue

Foam Trailer Locations 

Emergency Response Services Division
Assistant Chief Deputy
Michael Heffner
3565 Trelstad Ave SE
Salem, OR 97317
Phone: 503-934-8030

Planning Response Resources

Oregon GovSpace
Foam Trailer Operation Guide (FOG)
Railroad Tactical Worksheet
Request for Funding
State Emergency Operations Plan (ESF 10 Appendix)
Ask Rail App

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