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EPA Region 7 Responders Participate in Ethanol Training


A group of emergency planners and response coordinators from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and other state officials, will take part in one of the ethanol emergency response training sessions scheduled in seven Nebraska cities through Sept. 22.

Ethanol production is a fast-growing industry in the Midwest. First responders, including EPA on-scene coordinators, need to be prepared to respond to ethanol releases and fires. Fires involving ethanol or ethanol gasoline mixtures pose different hazards than traditional petroleum-based fires. Ethanol is water soluble and can burn with a flame so clear it cannot be seen.

The training covers the characteristics of ethanol tank cars, so that responders can quickly identify this equipment. Responders also are given information to help them interpret railway manifests.

EPA Region 7 employees taking the training include eight on-scene coordinators and two emergency planners. The Region 7 Mobile Command Post has also been deployed to the training. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, and local fire and police departments are also participating. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is providing classroom instruction and hands-on training with railcars, including ethanol tank cars, at each of the seven training locations in Scottsbluff, McCook, Hastings, Lincoln, Omaha, Columbus and North Platte.

This special-topic training is sponsored by Transportation Community Awareness Emergency Response. It is a partnership of chemical and transportation industries that help communities with hazardous materials transportation and emergency preparedness.


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