Firefighter Training for Crude Oil Train Fires Inadequate: Group

"WASHINGTON — Citing the sharp increase in the transportation of crude oil by rail, a group told Congress on Wednesday that most of the country’s fire departments lack sufficient training to respond to hazardous materials incidents.

Elizabeth Harman, assistant to the general president for training and grants at the International Association of Fire Fighters, said recent funding cuts have hurt efforts to train firefighters at the proper level and keep them updated on new hazards.

“There are significant portions of the country where first responders are not prepared for an incident involving hazardous materials,” said Harman, a certified fire service instructor.

Harman told the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials that 65 percent of fire departments that respond to hazardous materials incidents have not trained all of their personnel for it."

Curtis Tate reports for McClatchy April 2, 2014.

Friday, April 4, 2014