Norfolk Southern holds train safety training event in East Point

Norfolk Southern holds train safety training
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:54 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 12:28 PM EDT
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EAST POINT, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Atlanta-based transportation company Norfolk Southern is holding hands-on training for first responders Tuesday in East Point.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Norfolk Southern’s CEO Alan Shaw joined first responders and rail line workers at East Point Yard.

“We know how important training like Norfolk Southern is doing, training 5,000 first responders a year literally moving this train all over the country to do that, we know how important that is,” said Gov. Kemp.

Back in February in East Palestine, Ohio, the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train leaked thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals into the environment, burned for days, and displaced thousands of people, costing the rail line hundreds of millions of dollars.

“We have committed over $35 million to help the community recover and help the community thrive,” said Shaw.

And just last month, Norfolk Southern had another derailment in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. This one did not involve hazardous materials. Only 10 of 200 train cars derailed.

Back in March, the company held safety training in Ohio, utilizing dozens of first responders. Company leaders say these training events are a part of their efforts to putting safety first and making the company whole again.

“It’s about prevention, mitigation, and response. Last year, we had the lowest number of derailments for Norfolk Southern in the last two decades. And we can get better,” said Shaw.

At Tuesday’s training event, they’ll be going over safety around a railroad, how to identify what’s in a railcar, and what to do in emergency situations.

“The training with the first responders is all about response, making sure that they understand what happens on a real train. We want to make sure they have exposure to this,” said Shaw.

Firefighters from College Park, East Point, and Hapeville all participated in the training.