RFA: Ethanol safety seminars coming to Oklahoma, Missouri

By Renewable Fuels Association | July 15, 2014

The Renewable Fuels Association will host six free Ethanol Safety Seminars this month across Oklahoma and Missouri.

Oklahoma will be home to four of the seminars. The first seminar will be held on July 21 at the Western Technology Center in Weatherford; it is co-hosted by Oklahoma Emergency Management/LEPC. The second seminar will be held on July 22 at the Oklahoma City Fire Training Academy; it is co-hosted by Stillwater Central Railroad. The third seminar will be held on July 24 at the Case Community Center in Tulsa; it is co-hosted by South Kansas & Ohio Railroad. The final seminar will be held on July 25 at the Mid America Industrial Park Expo Center in Port of Catoosa; it is also co-hosted by Oklahoma Emergency Management/LEPC. The seminars in Weatherford and Port of Catoosa are funded by an Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grant while the Oklahoma City and Tulsa seminars are funded by a Federal Railroad Administration grant through TRANSCAER. RFA has been a TRANSCAER member since 2007.

The other two seminars will occur in Missouri, with the first to be held on July 22 at the Public Safety Training Center in Joplin; it is co-hosted by Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad. The second will take place on July 24 at the St. Louis Fire Academy; it is co-hosted by Alton Southern Railroad. Both seminars are funded by a Federal Railroad Administration grant through TRANSCAER.

All seminars will have morning sessions from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and evening sessions from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Please note that registration is limited. Lunch and dinner will be provided. 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, it is also open to the general public.

“With the heightened awareness of hazmat traveling throughout the United States on our railway systems, these types of training seminars are a very useful tool,” said Pat Foster, general manager at Stillwater Central Railroad. “This gives the railroads the opportunity to work with first responders in a positive atmosphere and to open a line of communication that sometimes may not have been there in the event of an incident.”

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 and 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.

“The use of ethanol and ethanol-blended products continues to increase each year. With this growth comes the heightened risk of encountering ethanol emergencies on the highways, rail systems, and at transfer and storage facilities,” said Jon Hall, member of the Oklahoma County Local Emergency Planning Committee. “Our first responders must be aware of the unique challenges inherent in such emergencies. The Ethanol Safety Seminar is designed to provide an avenue for educating our responder community on the most current and effective tactics and techniques to safely react to ethanol emergencies and mitigate the hazards associated with such events.”

“Rail remains the primary mode of transportation of ethanol fuel today. Although ethanol holds an impressive safety record of 99.997 percent of shipments arriving at their destination safely, communities should prepare themselves for the consequences of an unlikely incident,” said Kristy Moore, RFA’s vice president of technical services. “Through this course, RFA and its partners ensure that emergency personnel are fully equipped to respond.”

The Ethanol Safety Seminar focuses on numerous important areas of ethanol safety 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.

To register for these seminars, go to www.rfa.traincaster.com.

The RFA will be co-hosting Ethanol Safety Seminars throughout the summer in partnership with several railroads across the country. Scheduled Ethanol Safety Seminars include: Aug. 7–8 in Alabama; Aug. 11–12 in Missouri; and Aug. 13–14 in Kansas.

For more information on ethanol emergency response, visit the EERC website at www.EthanolResponse.com.