RFA ethanol safety seminar planned for Willmar, Minn.

By Renewable Fuels Association | September 05, 2012

The Renewable Fuels Association, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, and Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. will cohost a free ethanol safety seminar in Willmar, Minn., on Sept. 10 at the Willmar Education and Arts Center Auditorium. To accommodate schedules and reach as many participants as possible, the seminar features a morning session from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and an evening session from 5:30-10:00 p.m.  Lunch and dinner will be provided.

Ethanol production, transportation, and use are increasing year after year.  As this domestically grown fuel accounts for 10 percent of our country’s fuel supply, many first responders will be tasked with preparing for potential ethanol-related incidents for the first time.  This program provides in-depth information on proper training techniques that first responders and hazmat personnel need to effectively respond to an ethanol-related emergency.

“Rail is one of the safest ways to transport hazardous materials, but we cannot take safety for granted,” said Patrick Brady, assistant director of hazardous materials at BNSF Railway. “These ethanol safety seminars are an outstanding way to prepare local, state and federal responders for hazmat emergencies and strengthen partnerships between the producer, the railroads and the communities.”

The goal of this seminar 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 Complete 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. While primarily targeting first responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, it is also open to the general public.

“Ethanol is a part of our lives on a daily basis here in Minnesota with nearly 1.13 billion gallons of ethanol produced annually at 22 biorefineries,” said Mike Jerke, general manager of Chippewa Valley Ethanol. “With this volume of ethanol fuel being produced and transported throughout our communities, it is imperative that we are prepared for an ethanol related incident, should one occur. This ethanol safety seminar program provides the information and resources needed for an emergency situation.”

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 of ethanol blended fuels, storage and dispensing locations, firefighting foam principles and ethanol, ethanol blended fuel emergencies, and incidents at tank farm and bulk storage locations.  Certificates of Participation will be distributed following the completion of the safety seminar. 

The RFA will be co-hosting Ethanol Safety Seminars throughout 2012 with Norfolk Southern, CN Railway, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. Scheduled Ethanol Safety Seminar locations include: Pittsburgh, Pa., on Sept. 13; Elgin, Ill., on Oct. 2; Bessemer, Ala., on Oct. 29; and Fort Worth, Texas on Nov 29.

To register for this seminar, go to www.rfa.traincaster.com.

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