SOURCE: Verde Canyon Railroad

Verde Canyon Railroad

August 15, 2016 02:00 ET

First Responder Training at Verde Canyon Railroad

CLARKDALE, AZ and SEDONA, AZ and VERDE VALLEY, AZ--(Marketwired - August 15, 2016) - On August 9, 10 and 12, 2016, Verde Canyon Railroad (VCRR) and Clarkdale Arizona Central Railroad (AZCR) sponsored three Basic Railroad Incident Response Procedures and Rail Safety Awareness training sessions for Verde Valley first responders. This program hosted approximately 40 firefighters from the Verde Valley Fire District. The program was first accredited and approved by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. This training is the first of its kind for shortline railroads in the State of Arizona.

It is important for first responders to have advance knowledge of the railroad property and equipment in case of an emergency. Participants spent time in the classroom and in the Railroad's working yard. In the field, they inspected the depot property and reviewed the design and construction of passenger and freight cars and the locomotives that move both types of equipment. The class and field exercises allowed them the opportunity to pre-plan diverse emergency response situations.

The training program was conducted by Dr. Art Miller, system director of safety and regulatory compliance for The Western Group, a railroad industry consortium that operates several railroad lines in the western United States. Miller commented, "Responding to a railroad emergency requires First Responders to develop a new skill set. First Responders are generally taught during the initial situational assessment -- also called a "size up" -- to focus in on items like fire and ignition sources, locations of injured persons, and evacuation routes." However, classroom and field exercises demonstrated that a typical AZCR freight train or VCRR passenger train is over 1,000 feet long. That requires a totally different situational assessment using what instructor Miller called "a mental wide angle lens."

The First Responder training worked in concert with emergency response training provided by the Railroad's engineers, conductors and managers. "The goal of the joint First Responder and Railroad employee training program is to have everyone 'on the same page' in the event of an incident," Dr. Miller said.

Assisting with the training classes were Robin Brean, AZCR/VCRR general manager, and Roman Soqui, assistant general manager. Both have decades of experience working at the Railroads.

"These two programs go above and beyond any currently-regulated federal requirements set forth for shortline railroad operations," noted Dr. Miller. "It is not only meant to protect and insure quick response for passengers traveling on the Verde Canyon Railroad's daily service but also for residents and businesses located in the surrounding community," Miller added.

"Clarkdale Arizona Central Railroad and Verde Canyon Railroad have always been proactive with public safety entities when it comes to community safety," said General Manager Brean. "We are proud to have taken the initiative to offer this training without charge to the agency," she added.

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