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Norfolk Southern and BASF help Greensboro area emergency responders prepare for hazmat incidents

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Jul 08, 2013

More than 149 local emergency responders received hands-on training in June in responding to rail-related hazardous materials incidents. BASF and Norfolk Southern Railway sponsored the training at the NS Pomona Yard in Greensboro, N.C. Both Norfolk Southern and BASF consider emergency preparedness education an essential element of responsible corporate citizenship and sustainable business growth. Greensboro, High Point, Pinecroft-Sedgefield, Southeast, and Orange Rural Fire Departments, and Guilford County Emergency Services participated.

The training was provided through TRANSCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response), a consortium of companies from the chemical and rail industries that voluntarily assist communities in preparing for and responding to a possible hazardous material transportation incident. Emergency responders play a critical role in protecting the public's safety and security, and TRANSCAER programs bring them the information and training they need to prepare for and respond to a chemical transportation incident.

BASF provided instructors and their training tank car, “Mr. T,” which is equipped with multiple domes on top to allow responders to understand the look and function of valves and fittings. Responders can also go inside Mr. T to view samples and cutaways of valves and to examine the underside of the top fittings.

Using Mr. T, responders were trained in various aspects of rail and tank car safety and were shown how to apply handbrakes to prevent a rail car from moving in the event of an accident. They also were briefed on the dangers involved with emergency equipment when coming up on grade crossings while responding to regular calls. Trains can operate very quietly at speeds that can be deceiving.

“The Greensboro Fire Department and surrounding responders appreciate the opportunity to learn from and train with experts in the industry such as BASF and Norfolk Southern,” said Capt. Joel B. Wood, Greensboro Fire Department, Special Operations Division. “This training is extremely valuable to responders and gives them a realistic approach to learning when the actual rail car is sitting before you. The training offers a hands-on opportunity to gain knowledge on the potentials of a railroad emergency.”

Norfolk Southern will sponsor two other hands-on TRANSCAER training opportunities in North Carolina this year and at numerous other locations across the rail system. NS will have Dupont training cars in Spencer, N.C. on July 30, 31, and Aug. 1 and BASF will again partner with NS for training sessions in Charlotte on Aug. 6, 7, and 8. For more information email

Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products.


Norfolk Southern contacts:

Robin Chapman

Michael Hostutler