COLLEGE STATION – Three rail tank cars carrying crude oil have derailed at Brayton Fire Training Field and burst into flames. This was the scenario that 23 responders faced for their final training exercise in a new TEEX course, Crude by Rail Emergency Response Training. Employees of Phillips 66 participated in the pilot class of the three-day, hands-on course on Nov. 10-12.
Course participants trained on a full-scale training prop specifically designed to simulate fire scenarios involving crude oil leaks or other flammable liquid railcar emergencies. And Brayton Fire Training Field is one of the few places responders can train with flammable liquids and the specialized foam agents and firefighting equipment used in a Crude by Rail response.
The rail industry collaborated on both the design of the prop and the course curriculum, said Mead Nobles, Associate Training Specialist with TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute. The railcars were donated by BNSF Railway, who provided technical assistance along with Union Pacific, in planning the Rail Transportation Emergency project at Brayton Fire Field.
The course curriculum was also vetted during a meeting earlier this fall with representatives from five of the seven Class 1 Railroads operating in North America, Nobles added. Three industrial clients also reviewed the course.
BNSF Railway officials have already scheduled two contract classes for their employees in February, and plan to schedule additional classes in 2016.
“This is a class that is certainly needed in the response community, and I think it’s going to be well-received,” Nobles said. “Many of our open enrollment classes in 2016 are filling up.”
The course is designed so it can be customized and fine-tuned for different groups of responders, which range from industrial fire brigades and railroad personnel to volunteer fire departments, Nobles said.
“For municipal firefighters, the course will build their confidence and comfort level if this is the first time they have been exposed to a crude by rail flammable liquid fire,” he added. “Railroad response trailers are based along the rail line, usually at municipal fire stations, so many municipal firefighters may need this training. We can fine tune the class, depending on the experience level of the students.”
The curriculum was developed by Nobles with assistance from Butch Warden of the TEEX HazMat program, Clay Reid with BNSF Railway and Margaret Guillory of the ESTI Curriculum Team. Course instructors are Nobles and Craig King