Rail Conference reaches out to first responders

The Teamsters Rail Conference is reaching out to hazardous materials First Responders in an effort to boost rail security as part of its "High Alert: Safe Rails/Secure America" campaign.

First Responders are law enforcement officers, fire fighters, emergency medical services providers, hazardous materials handlers, physicians or nurses who are among the first called to service in the event of a hazmat spill, accident, or terrorist attack on the nation's rail system.

These First Responders are being asked to sign a petition, which will first be faxed to the IBT and later delivered en mass to the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The petition calls on those government agencies to protect American lives by demanding that rail carriers immediately implement a viable security plan to be enforced by the TSA.

Workers who responded to the Teamsters Rail Conference Safe Rails/Secure America survey of safety and security measures on the U.S. rail network report they have no system - other than the railroad radio - to alert First Responders of a hijack, attack, or other emergency. They have received little or no training with regard to security or their roles in the rail carriers' security plan. They have had inadequate training in safety/terrorism prevention; inspections of infrastructure; hazardous materials; or OSHA's Emergency Action and/or Emergency Response plans.

"Such vulnerabilities place the lives of train crew members, first responders, and millions of Americans at risk," BLET National President Don Hahs said. "Only by increasing the pressure on rail corporations can we force a change for the better."

For the most part, rail corporations have been held to a lower standard when it comes to security. For example, the Coast Guard mandates security standards for our nation's ports, both to protect our economic infrastructure and to protect the people living near by. On the other hand, the railroad industry has only received recommended security standards from the Department of Homeland Security.

It is imperative that BLET members do their part in this campaign by copying this flyer and taking it to their local fire, EMS, and police departments. Please have them fax the flyer back to the number provided on the flyer. The flyer is also available on the BLET website as a PDF at: http://www.ble-t.org/pr/pdf/HighAlertPetition.pdf



© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen