By Cynthia Quarterman
When it comes to transporting hazardous materials — whether its by pipeline, rail, road or air — nothing is more important than safety. There are more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines underfoot and more than a million hazmat shipments by other modes each day, so accidents are bound to happen. To ensure that firefighters, EMS and police are prepared to deal with any type of hazmat or pipeline emergency, PHMSA offers a number of free resources including grants, training, and tools like the Emergency Response Guidebook and its companion mobile app).
TIMELINE: Pipeline incidents in North America
We’ve distributed more than 11 million free copies of the ERG, and we’ve awarded more than $182 million through our Hazardous Materials Emergency Grant program, providing training funds for more than 2.5 million first responders nationwide.
Our Hazardous Materials Safety Assistance Team is available to help you find the best resources to fit your mission profile and keep you informed. HMSAT representatives in each of our regional offices conduct 10 or more free training sessions on use of the ERG each year, and are a great go-to resource for information on hazmat transportation, preparedness and response.
You may have heard by now about all the work being done to explore new sources of energy for the future. We recently visited shale plays in Pennsylvania and North Dakota, and one thing was clear amidst all the hustle and bustle: the future is here.
With this new activity come many implications, including new pipeline construction, more traffic on the roads, and influxes of workers and equipment.
If there is a pipeline in your area of operations, or there will be in the foreseeable future, it is now more important than ever to establish communication with the operator, get familiar with its emergency response plan, and have the training you need effectively participate in its implementation.
In 2004, we helped the National Association of State Fire Marshals create the first edition of the Pipeline Emergencies curriculumto provide specialized training to firefighters and others who may be called upon to respond to a pipeline incident. More than 1000 firefighters have been through the program since its inception, and NASFM has distributed more than 45,000 copies of the textbook for free. The quality and value of the program is evidenced by its recent acceptance into National Training and Education Division federal catalogue, allowing first responders to use Homeland Security Grant Program funds to cover course delivery and attendance.’s
We understand the difficulties you may face when dealing with a hazmat emergency, and we want the same things you want; the best training, the best equipment, and confidence in knowing that you are prepared to respond to these incidents when and wherever they may occur.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration develops and enforces regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation's 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air. Please visit http://phmsa.dot.govfor more information.