RFA: Safety seminars, retailer workshops headed to Michigan

By Renewable Fuels Association | September 11, 2014

Safety has always been a top priority for America’s ethanol industry and for those who transport and bring ethanol to the marketplace. That is why the Renewable Fuels Association, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, will continue its national tour of Ethanol Safety Seminars this month with five stops across Michigan in order to train those responsible for the safety of their communities to be well prepared for responding to ethanol-related emergencies.

Seminars will take place on Sept. 17 in Albion, Sept. 18 in Lansing, Sept. 19 in Grand Rapids, Sept. 22 in Saginaw, and Sept. 24 in Warren. Each seminar is funded by a Promotion and Alternative Fuels Education grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

All seminars are free and feature a morning session from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and an evening session from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Certificates will be awarded to attendees at the completion of the course. While primarily targeting first responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, seminars are also open to the general public.

The goal of these seminars is for attendees to gain full ethanol emergency response training experience that they can put to use immediately in the field as well as pass along to other first response teams. A majority of this training is based on the “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” a training package created by the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition that has been distributed throughout the United States and to several countries worldwide.

Ethanol Safety Seminars focus on numerous areas including an introduction to ethanol and ethanol-blended fuels, chemical and physical characteristics of ethanol and hydrocarbon fuels, transportation and transfer of ethanol-blended fuels, storage and dispensing locations, firefighting foam principles and ethanol-blended fuel, health and safety considerations for ethanol-blended fuel emergencies and tank farm and bulk storage fire incidents.

“With nearly 14 billion gallons of ethanol flowing across our country via railroads, highway cargo tank trucks, and barges, it’s vital that our first responders know how to safely and effectively handle the situation should a spill occur,” said Craig VanBuren, consumer protection section director at the Michigan Department of Agriculture. “This grant allows the Renewable Fuels Association the opportunity to provide boots-on-the-ground training for our emergency responders if an ethanol spill were to happen.”

In addition to the seminars, RFA will also host five free retailer workshops throughout the state on how to market ethanol-blended fuels, including E15, E85, and all mid-level blends in between. The workshops will discuss economics, the process of capturing RINs, equipment options, buying fuel locally, and available incentives to offset investment. Workshops will take place on Sept. 16 in Warren and Flint, Sept. 17 in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, and Sept. 18 in Ann Arbor.

To register for an Ethanol Safety Seminar, go to www.rfa.traincaster.com.

RFA has been co-hosting Ethanol Safety Seminars throughout the summer. Additional seminars will be announced in the near future.