New hazardous material training could help responders ‘tap into knowledge’ for future derailments

New training is being offered across the state to every single first responder following the recent train derailments.

The hazardous derailment in East Palestine and the derailment in Springfield prompted Governor Mike DeWine and Norfolk Southern to create a new first responder training center in Ohio.

Dayton Fire Captain Brad French said the department will always evaluate training opportunities that come up. He also said that Dayton’s hazmat crews receive training multiple times a year.

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“Every year, or two years or so we’ll do a specific training related to railroads. We have a couple of major rail yards here in the Dayton metro area,” French said.

The hazmat team also prepares to help others like those in East Palestine.

“We can deploy anywhere throughout the region or the state either as a primary responder or to assist others as they deal with their emergency,” the captain explained.

Still, there are not experts in every situation and that was a point DeWine hit home on in a release announcing the training center Wednesday.

“The derailment in East Palestine made clear that ensuring first responders are prepared for disasters involving hazardous materials is vitally important to the safety of communities,” DeWine said.

French said he hopes this training will teach them the specifics on trains and railroads.

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“We can really tap into the knowledge of those subject matter experts and learn as much as we could about that particular topic,” French said.

The Dayton Fire captain said the training is a great option for smaller fire departments, especially those that don’t have the resources to train for hazmat situations.

“Even in smaller areas, there’s going to be regional resources, state level resources, that they can call for assistance in those types of situations,” French said.

The location of the center will be decided in partnership with community leaders. Until a location is picked, training classes will begin on March 22 at Norfolk Southern’s Moorman Yard in Bellevue, Ohio.