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HazMat Rail Program

History and Overview

In February 2014, the Governor's Office called for a statewide review of rail safety in Oregon. This 
action was prompted by an increase in the transport of crude oil along major rail lines in the state, including the Columbia River Gorge. The Governor charged state agencies that have a role in rail safety and emergency response to review the status of oil trains in Oregon, the resources and training currently available to ensure the safe transport of crude oil, and whether or not state policies and procedures need to be updated.

The Oregon Legislature passed HB 3225 to keep communities safer and mandated the Office of State Fire Marshal to create a proactive and comprehensive plan for future response to hazardous materials by rail incidents. Governor Kate Brown signed HB 3225 into law on July 20, 2015.

HB 3225 established Oregon Revised Statute 453.392 to 453.394 relating to spills or releases that occur during transportation by rail.  The law directs the Office of State Fire Marshal to develop a state level hazardous materials by rail response plan and support local planning efforts, establish an inventory of both public and private hazardous materials by rail incident response assets across the state of Oregon, and support first responder training in regards to hazardous materials by rail emergency response.

Oregon Administrative Rules - Division 120 837-120-0501 through 837-120-0540 were implemented on February 1st, 2017. 


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HazMat Rail Training

Leveraging the specialized knowledge and training of Oregon’s regional HazMat response teams, the OSFM is able to coordinate and host several HazMat-focused courses, many of them taught by HazMat team members and OSFM staff.  These courses adapt core HazMat response principles to the HazMat transportation by rail environment and are primarily designed for emergency response personnel.

HAZMAT Courses Offered

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.

Please contact OSFM HazMat Rail Coordinator Chad Hawkins for additional information or questions. 
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HazMat Rail Emergency Response Planning Resources

ODOT Rail and Public Transit Division posts secure information on GovSpace, regarding the Notification and Reporting of Hazardous Material Transportation by Rail which is governed by Oregon Revised Statutes 824.082 to 824.090, and Oregon Administrative Rule 741-510. The OSFM partners with ODOT to make emergency responders aware of this tool and its utilization. The information obtained in these reports details the types and quantities of hazardous materials transported by rail on a quarterly basis. GovSpace is a secure web-based information sharing platform accessible by emergency responders 24/7/365 once vetted and used for HazMat by Rail emergency response planning purposes.

ODOT Rail Access to Railroad Hazardous Material Commodity Flow Information

tern Response Resource List (WRRL)

The WRRL is a database that stores data on various types of oil spill response equipment in the Pacific Northwest. It can be used to identify response equipment during a drill or spill, provide an overall picture of the regions response resources, and be used for developing and reviewing oil/hazmat spill contingency plans.

AskRail App

The AskRail® app is a safety tool that 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. AskRail is a backup resource if information from the train conductor or train consist is not available.

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Foam Trailer Locations

Another element of HB 3225 is for the OSFM to identify where HAZMAT response materials are located.  A critical response gap noted in the 2014 survey of Oregon’s fire service was a lack of equipment in which to fight a crude oil fire.  The OSFM worked directly with Union Pacific (UP) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) to close that gap who supplied eight (8) foam firefighting trailers complete with a cache of foam, eductors, and spray nozzles.  These trailers have been strategically deployed throughout Oregon along mainline track where crude oil by rail is predominately shipped. In addition, these trailers are available not only for a crude oil by rail incident, but for any type of fire requiring large quantities of foam application for suppression purposes. They are staffed and available to respond 24/7/365 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

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