The Dow Chemical Company has a commitment to the security and safety of its sites, products and communities. In 2006, for example, Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris announced the company’s 2015 Sustainability Goals, a bold set of goals that focus on product safety leadership, local protection of human health and the environment and strengthening relationships with the communities in which Dow operates. 

Collaboration plays an important role in the success of these goals. One of the ways it accomplishes this is by working with TRANSCAER® (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response), a voluntary national outreach effort that helps communities prepare for and respond to a possible hazardous material transportation incident.

Through TRANSCAER, free emergency preparedness training is provided to local and regional emergency response organizations, as well as education to communities near major rail routes about rail equipment, chemical transportation and the importance of planning for potential hazardous material transportation emergencies.

The TRANSCAER initiative provides the hazardous materials (hazmat) transportation industry with emergency training, consequence management of an incident, and community outreach. Each year, TRANSCAER offers hands-on training using actual transportation equipment to thousands of emergency responders and local officials, at hundreds of sites nationwide. TRANSCAER also provides communities with information on the types of hazardous materials moving through their local area and what to do and expect in the event of a hazmat transportation incident.

The TRANSCAER Organization

TRANSCAER was formed in 1986 by Dow and Union Pacific Railroad. It serves as an inter-industry outreach program focusing on assisting communities that might not host a major chemical facility, but which are situated on or near major transportation routes, prepare for and respond to a possible incident.

The National TRANSCAER Task Group (NTTG) manages the overall program, while regional and state coordinators implement TRANSCAER and the nine TRANSCAER steps throughout the United States. Each state coordinator works with communities within his or her state to help prepare for and respond to a possible transportation hazardous materials incident. In many cases, there is a state TRANSCAER team that creates a plan that best fits the needs of the state. 

TRANSCAER is sponsored by manufacturers, shippers, carriers and other industries involved in the transportation of hazardous materials. Those industries include railroads, trucking companies, chemical producers and distributors, emergency response contractors, as well as trade associations.

TRANSCAER Training Tours

A major component of TRANSCAER is the TRANSCAER Training Tours, which provide improved community awareness and preparedness along chemical transportation routes, in coordination with the transportation industry; national, regional and state TRANSCAER programs; and training cars from the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation.

In 2010, Dow is once again rolling out its “Chemical Safety Train” outfitted with two custom classrooms and a training center. While Dow has been supporting TRANSCAER since it was established, this particular train has been in service since 2007. In that time Dow has provided free chemical transportation training to more than 2,600 emergency responders across the country, including local fire-fighters and hazmat specialists.

Emergency responders who register for the free, local tour events participate in a variety of module-based, classroom and simulated activities, focused on railroad equipment training, hazardous material training and advanced training with interactive emergency response drills. As part of the training, local emergency personnel participate in simulated activities and classroom seminars focused on railroad equipment training, hazardous material training and advanced training with interactive emergency drills. To better meet the needs of attendees, two tracks have been created:

• Track 1 – General Awareness for non-responders (1.5 hours)
In this track, participants gain a general understanding of the roles and responsibilities of those that may be involved in responding to a hazmat emergency involving Toxic Inhalation Hazards/Flammable Gas commodities. Participants are also given a tour of the Safety Train cars at the training site.

• Track 2 – Hazmat Tech Training (All-day session)
In this track, participants engage in hands-on activities and are taught the basics regarding specific topics and types of equipment, such as Locomotives and Tank Anatomy; Capping kits; Leak investigation and mitigation; Tank Truck anatomy; and Toxic Inhalation hazards and Flammable Gas.