More than 100 emergency responders and agencies gathered this past September in Stratford, Ontario for a series of training sessions on dangerous goods hosted by TRANSCAER®. The event featured three one-day training sessions at Perth County Paramedic Services’ headquarters and educated emergency responder staff, municipal officials and industry personnel on the best approaches for handling transportation incidents involving dangerous goods.
Joseph Caponio, Manager, Transportation Services, ERCO Worldwide, as well as the Chair of the Ontario Regional TRANSCAER® Committee, said the goal of the event was to give first responders information about the dangerous goods that may be travelling through their communities through various modes of transportation, including by rail.
Caponio collaborated with Dave Colvin, Emergency Management Coordinator for Perth County, after Colvin reached out to TRANSCAER® to plan the event because of his previous awareness of how the program works.
Colvin said he started working with TRANSCAER® over five years ago. With this event, he “really wanted to bring transportation emergency response to the attention of key municipal decision makers.”
“In Perth County, we only have awareness level training for hazmat in our fire departments. It is also important that paramedics, police, and public works have an overview of some of the products going through our region,” Colvin added.
The event organizers focused the training around certain chemical products – mainly anhydrous ammonia, propane, chlorine and flammable liquids.
“These chemicals are typically ones that not only go through their community, but are of heightened concern,” Caponio said.
This outreach event combined both classroom and hands-on learning opportunities. Industry experts from Transport Canada, Goderich-Exeter Railway (GEXR) and Shell Canada, among others, presented a variety of lessons to attendees in a classroom setting. Topics included first responder strategies for dangerous goods incidents and Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAPs).
Outdoor portions of the event included a review of the construction, safety and design of cargo tank trucks as well as emergency response and spill contractor equipment.