WASHINGTON – March 12, 2021 – The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) today unveiled a new offering, the development and documentation of a Transportation Emergency Response Plan (TERP) for short line railroads. A TERP is a guidance document designed for railroads that move hazardous materials, providing a tool for preparing employees to safely respond to an incident and to share with local first responders in advance of an emergency.

“Analysis of Safety Culture Assessments conducted by SLSI over the past five years has identified the need for incremental training and support for small business railroads that handle hazardous materials,” said Tom Murta, Executive Director of the SLSI. “Offering the development and creation of a TERP is an outgrowth of our Hazardous Materials Training, and an example of work that can be accomplished despite COVID restrictions, leveraging the more than 600 years of experience on staff at SLSI for the benefit of the short line industry.”

A final TERP is provided in electronic and hard copy format, ready to be used in preparing for and safely responding to hazardous materials incidents and other emergencies. The plan will include detailed hi-resolution maps identifying physical features of the railroad’s yard(s) and location of key assets for incident response and emergency access routes within that facility.

Also included is a “red tab” section with contact information for key railroad personnel and sensitive receptors located within a one-mile radius of the rail yard. Sensitive receptors include, but are not limited to hospitals, schools, daycare facilities, elderly housing and convalescent facilities where the occupants are more susceptible to the adverse effects of exposure to chemicals and other pollutants.

A TERP is completed in three steps:

  • An initial phone call to obtain background information and details of the physical layout of the rail yard.
  • A site survey performed by a member of the SLSI team.
  • A review of the final plan with management, and delivery of materials.

A TERP can be successfully created within CDC and FRA COVID 19 guidelines, and in consideration of any railroad-specific or local health and safety measures, and is provided at no cost to railroads.

Hazardous Materials Training from the SLSI
Through a grant from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the SLSI has developed a robust training program to assist short lines in augmenting Hazardous Materials Training programs already available on their railroad. The SLSI training program is available at no cost to railroads. The SLSI has offered training virtually (via Zoom), and provided video training materials to meet the needs of railroads during the COVID 19 pandemic.

In addition to the training program, the SLSI provides downloadable Safety Tips for railroads to use during safety briefings and Hazardous Materials Guides (educational and sample materials that cover a range of topics related to hazardous materials) for railroads to add to their library of materials.