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Welcome to OAR!

Launched in June 2015, the goal of OAR is to educate the public about the economic importance of the safe movement of hazardous materials by rail and to connect emergency first responders in Norfolk Southern communities with information and training resources. Our website,, has the following information (and a lot more) available at the touch of a mouse.
  • Training options and sign-ups:
    • Hazmat Safety Train Program
    • Tabletop Exercises
    • SERTC Openings
    • Online Training
  • Information on what NS carries
  • How to get the AskRail™ app and other useful response tools
  • Pictures of the NS 9-1-1 locomotive
  • Railroad Emergency Phone Numbers

Norfolk Southern Earns TRANSCAER® National Achievement Award

At the International Association of Fire Chiefs HazMat Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, Norfolk Southern was presented the 2017 TRANSCAER® National Achievement Award for its efforts to help communities prepare for and respond to possible hazardous materials transportation incidents.

During TRANSCAER® outreach events, NS supports communities across its rail network by training local emergency responders on how to prepare for and safely respond to potential rail-related incidents. The training includes information about rail safety precautions, railroad operations, initial-response procedures, and rail equipment. Many sessions include hands-on drills and training that uses rail equipment to simulate responses to emergency situations.

In 2017, NS employees in the Safety and Environmental Department provided training to 8,185 emergency responders during TRANSCAER® events held in 16 states on the company’s operating territory. A highlight of NS’ program is operation of the company’s safety train, which includes a locomotive, two training box cars, four tank cars, and two flat cars with intermodal containers and multiple valve arrangements for hands-on training to simulate leaks.

NS also maintains its Operation Awareness and Response website,, to help educate the public about the safe movement of hazardous materials by rail and provide additional resources for emergency responders. In addition, NS collaborates with other Class I railroads on the AskRail® mobile app, which allows emergency responders to quickly identify the type of hazmat a rail car is carrying and then make informed decisions to safely respond to a derailment or other rail incident.

Last year, NS donated $207,000 through the Norfolk Southern Foundation to 101 emergency medical services organizations in 15 states and sponsored training for several local emergency responders at the rail industry’s Security and Emergency Response Training Center in Pueblo, Colo.

Meet the Norfolk Southern HazMat Team: Glen Rudner

Glen Rudner is a Norfolk Southern Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer based out of Birmingham, Alabama.  Prior to joining Norfolk Southern, Rudner was on the City of Alexandria Fire Department's HazMat team, and later became a HazMat Officer for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.  As a native of Bronx, New York, Rudner began his career as a volunteer firefighter in Upstate New York, launching his thirty-year profession of training and teaching hazardous materials management and response all over the world. 

When asked what he enjoyed most about being part of the Norfolk Southern HazMat team, Rudner responded, "The ability to reach out to as many HazMat responders throughout our system to make sure that they understand how to respond to incidents involving rail, as well as the products we move." 

Norfolk Southern is fortunate to have Glen Rudner on the HazMat team; stay tuned for the next NS OAR newsletter to meet another member! 

Norfolk Southern Awarded Responsible Care Partner of the Year 

In May 2018, NS was recognized by the American Chemistry Council as the Responsible Care® Partner of the Year. Norfolk Southern was one of three companies and the only freight railroad to receive the ACC’s premier partner award. The award goes to high-performing companies involved in the distribution, transportation, storage, use, treatment, disposal, and sales and marketing of chemicals vital to American businesses and households.

NS has been an active participant since 1996 in the voluntary Responsible Care Partner program, which is the chemical industry’s environmental, health, safety, and security performance initiative. As a Responsible Care Partner, Norfolk Southern must achieve third-party certification of its business management systems every three years, a rigorous process that includes reviews of the railroad’s safety, environmental stewardship, and security programs.

“It was an honor to accept the Responsible Care Partner award on behalf of NS,” Schoendorfer said. “Having been in the railroad’s Safety and Environmental Department since 1991, it’s amazing to see how far NS has progressed in the areas of safety, health, environmental, and security through the support and leadership of our current senior management.  Our company is totally dedicated to ensuring we deliver all of our customers’ shipments safely, particularly those classified as hazardous materials.” 

Norfolk Southern Safety Train in Charlotte, NC - Tank Car Emergency and Confined Space Training

On June 18th, the Norfolk Southern Safety Train arrived in Charlotte, NC to train first responders about railroad emergencies.  Over a 3-day period, more than 140 attendees participated in the Safety Train activities, including first responders from the Charlotte Fire Department HazMat team and other local HazMat teams.  A variety of classes were offered, such as a technician-level class that teaches HazMat teams about tank cars and their valves and fittings, and a standard tank car emergencies course.  First responders learned how to properly handle tank cars during HazMat emergencies and mitigate potential leaks.  The Charlotte Fire Department Rescue Companies completed a “confined space entry drill” where they simulated rescuing a downed person inside of a tank car.

SERTC Tank Car Emergency Response Class

For the 21st consecutive year, Norfolk Southern sponsored a Tank Car Emergency Response class at Pueblo, CO.  The May 2018 course was attended by 28 NS employees, 10 emergency responders, and 6 response contractors.  Nowhere else in the nation can you find extensive, hands-on, realistic training to help you be better prepared for HazMat Incidents for surface transportation, with full-scale props.  Participants learn about different types of railcars, their nomenclature, design features, commodities, and common types of leaks involved during an emergency. Containment measures, product transfer techniques, and liquid/vapor flaring options are also covered.

This course (most of which is hands-on training conducted in the field) covers the technical skills and knowledge necessary for effectively managing a hazmat incident in a rail transportation emergency.  John Lerner, NS HazMat Compliance Officer has been the NS coordinator for this training for the past 12 years.

North Carolina Transportation Museum's 4th Annual Fire Truck Festival

The 4th Annual Fire Truck Festival was held at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC on June 23, 2018.  With over 100 firetrucks, kid’s activities, live music from the Norfolk Southern Lawmen, Amtrak demonstrations, and much more, there was fun for the entire family.  Norfolk Southern also brought the NS Safety Train to the event featuring the NS 5642 locomotive (pictured below) which is a locomotive dedicated solely to training emergency responders.  To learn about other museum events go to and to find out where the NS Safety Train will be next, go to

Railroad Emergency Response Toolkit

The Association of American Railroads Hazardous Materials Committee has created a Railroad Hazmat Resource Toolkit.  This resource has been posted on the AAR / BOE web page at and contains pre-incident planning and training information for responding to railroad emergencies, with a focus on those involving HAZMAT. The target audience for this toolkit would be fire department commanders and emergency managers at the state, local, and tribal levels. This toolkit provides direct links for first responders to each of the individual Class I websites, such as and many other related sites.  The toolkit is a compendium of information and resources currently available to emergency responders. 

TRANSCAER® Seconds Count Video Series

TRANSCAER® has just released the “Seconds Count Video Series” -
NS HazMat staff helped with the production of several of the videos.  There is a lot of good information available here, so take a few minutes to check them out, because “seconds count.”

  1. What Happens When a Call Comes Into CHEMTREC®?
  2. Interview with John Modine, CHEMTREC®
  3. Interview with Tonya Ngotel, Nebraska State Coordinator
  4. Interview with Keith Silverman, Ashland, NTTG Chairman
  5. Interview with Frank Reiner, The Chlorine Institute
  6. Interview with Glen Rudner, Railroads
  7. Interview with Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association
  8. Interview with Michael Cleveland, BNSF Railway
  9. Interview with David Binder, Tanner Industries, Inc., Vice Chairman
  10. How to Read Placards
  11. Contacts and APPS for the Emergency Responder
  12. The Basics of LNG
  13. What is IDLH?
  14. What is the ERG?
  15. An Overview of Chlorine Container Auto-Refrigeration
  16. In 10 Seconds How Can You Tell if a Tank Car is Fully Loaded?
  17. Ethanol-TankCar Walkaround
  18. ChlorineTankCar Walkaround
  19. AA-TankTruck Walkaround
  20. AA-TankCar Walkaround
  21. AA-Nurse Tank Walkaround
  22. An Overview of Properties and Use of LNG
  23. What are the Emergency Response Kits for Chlorine Emergency Response?
  24. HazMat Incident: What are the First Things I Do?
  25. DOT111-117 Comparison
  26. An Overview of Double Shelf Couplers
  27. Ask Rail
  28. What Are The Levels of PPE?

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