Free Homeland Security course to cover how to respond in railway emergencies

A free training course, certified by the Department of Homeland Security, is being offered in Fernley to help first-responders, government administrators and emergency managers respond more effectively to a freight rail car incident.

The training, sponsored by the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC), will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11 in the training room at Fire Station 61, 195 E. Main Street, Fernley.

The course is designed to educate those on the front lines of defense in their community on what to do in the event of a rail car incident involving hazardous materials.

In 2008, the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) reported there were more than 7,000 rail car accidents and incidents, 20 of which involved hazardous materials requiring the evacuation of over 5,000 people. In the last five years there have been 166 incidents involving hazardous materials, most of which occurred in rural America according to the FRA.

The eight-hour, instructor-led course will introduce the rural responder to basic rail car design and construction features as well as damage assessment strategies to help interpret damage to the rail cars in a hazmat incident.

Upon completion of the course, participants will be better prepared to respond to a freight car incident without endangering the health and safety of the responders and the environment.

Registration is required and due by Sept. 27 at

The course was developed by the Ohio-based University of Findlay, an academic partner of the RDPC, to increase the participants’ knowledge and understanding of safety and hazardous conditions that may exist at the scene, and allow them to become familiar with safe practices adopted by the railroad industry.

Although no formal prerequisites are required to attend this course, it is recommended that participants have a working knowledge of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) before attending.

RDPC is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Training and Education Division (NTED), partnership of academic institutions with a vision of creating an environment wherein rural communities across America will have the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to enhance the safety, security and quality of life for their citizens.

For information, go to, or email, or call 877-855-7372.


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