The Norfolk Southern team provides a menu of emergency response training options. If you are an emergency responder (including: fire department, law enforcement, emergency medical services, hazmat response team, emergency management personnel, military, homeland security personnel, shippers, and customers) and are interested in training, please contact us at to provide you options in your community. Please review our training options below. All of the training options provided by Norfolk Southern are free to attendees. 

Video - What is OAR?

Training Videos

How many first responders have been trained through the Nofolk Southern OAR program?

The interactive map shows how many first responders have been trained through the OAR program, based on geographic location. Click on an icon within the map to discover how many first responders have been trained in your area.


Training Statistics -First Responders Trained Annually 

  • 2019 – 5,788

  • 2018 – 6,226

  • 2017 – 8,185

  • 2016 – 5,573

  • 2015 – 4,792

Robert Wood

System Manager Hazardous Materials
Atlanta, Ga.

As NS system manager hazardous materials, Robert Wood works closely with the system manager to oversee all aspects of NS' hazardous materials compliance, special system projects, training, and emergency preparedness and response across the NS network. Robert manages risk and liabilities associated with the transport of hazardous materials by rail, ensuring that the company maintains compliance with FRA and DOT regulations.

Robert has more than 30 years of experience in emergency response. Prior to NS, he spent 25 years with the Birmingham Fire & Rescue Hazardous Materials Team, and 14 years as an emergency response and environmental remediation contractor for the rail industry. Robert joined the NS team in 2012 as hazardous materials compliance officer.

Robert is the regional coordinator for the national Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER) Region 2 program that helps communities prepare for and safely respond to incidents involving transport of hazardous material.

Chad C. Edwards

Senior Manager HazMat, Fire & Life Safety
Atlanta, Ga.

Chad is a Veteran of the United States Navy and former Firefighter/Sergeant at the Valdosta Fire Department, Valdosta GA. While at the VFD, he completed an Associate Degree in Fire Science. Chad joined Norfolk Southern Railway in 2006 in the Transportation Department and worked in the Transportation Department until April 2011 before becoming a member of the Safety and Environmental Department in April 2011 as the Manager Property Loss and Prevention. The Manager Property Loss and Prevention evolved into the Manager Fire and Life Safety position in 2015 and while in this position Chad achieved a CEFI and CVFI certifications. In January 2020 Chad was promoted to Senior Manager Hazardous Materials/ Fire and Life Safety, he continues to maintain suppression systems and fire investigations while handling Hazardous Material Training and Emergency Response in Georgia and Florida.

Northern Region

R. Scott Deutsch

Regional Manager Hazardous Materials
Pittsburgh, Pa.

As NS’ regional manager of hazardous materials, Scott Deutsch is responsible for all aspects of hazardous materials compliance, emergency responder training, emergency preparedness and response, and environmental cleanup and remediation activities across NS’ Northern Region.

Scott joined NS in 2015 from Allegheny County Emergency Service, where he served as assistant chief operations and training. While there, he managed the emergency response program, Fire Training Academy staff and facilities, and hazmat drill coordination.

Scott worked in the chemical industry for 22 years, holding various positions in management and environmental health, safety, and security. He has 36 years of experience in the public safety field responding to fire, rescue, hazardous material, and industrial emergencies.

Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Point Park University.

Scott Gould

Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer
Allentown, Pa.

Scott Gould joined the NS team in October 2015 as the hazardous materials compliance officer for the Harrisburg Division. Scott is responsible for hazmat regulatory compliance, training, and emergency response within his territory.

Prior to NS, Scott worked for a private contractor for more than 15 years, responding to rail, highway, and industrial incidents. Scott started out as a technician, became a supervisor, and eventually a project manager who enforced safety techniques at all times. Over the years, he worked on high-profile rail incidents and managed various projects related to site remediation and industrial maintenance.

Scott participates in the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER) program in Pennsylvania as an event coordinator and trainer. Scott is one of the lead instructors for NS’ annual advanced tank car class at the Security Emergency Response Training Center in Pueblo, Colo.

Brian Shanks

Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer
Elkhart, Ind.

Brian Shanks began his NS Career in the Mechanical Department in 2010. In 2019, Brian became a Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer bringing with him almost 10 years of Mechanical Department experience.

Brian began his career in the Car Department as a Management Trainee and worked his way to Senior General Foreman. He has worked in Decatur, IL; St. Louis, MO; Kansas City, MO; and Chicago, IL.

Prior to NS, Brian received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2009.

Jon Simpson

Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer
Louisville, Ky.

Jon joined the NS team in July of 2020 as a Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer. Jon comes to NS after 22 years with the Louisville, KY Fire Department. Jon served those 22 years with the Hazardous Materials Response Team. Jon also served 6 years in the United States Marine Corp. John has conducted first responder training programs on behalf of the Center for Domestic Preparedness and SERTC Remote Flammable Liquid by Rail program.

Southern Region

Paul Williams

Regional Manager Hazardous Materials
Roanoke, Va.

Paul Williams has 34 years of experience in the railroad hazardous materials field. In his current role as regional manager hazardous materials, Paul manages NS’ emergency preparedness and response, community training programs, regulatory support, DOT compliance audits, and product releases across NS’ Southern Region.

Paul played an integral role in the development of the OAR safety train program to educate first responders about the safe movement of hazmat by rail. Paul is an active participant in the AskRail Task Force, providing valuable input in the development of the AskRail mobile app that provides real-time information to first responders.

Paul currently represents NS on the AAR Tank Car Committee, previously serving as chairman of the committee. Paul was former chairman of the American Chemistry Council’s TRANSCAER National Steering Committee and former president of the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council.

Before he began his NS career in 2003, Paul held positions with the AAR, Bureau of Explosives in Washington, D.C., and the Transportation Technology Center’s Security Emergency Response Training Center in Pueblo, Colo. 

In October 2017, Paul was awarded the Holden-Proefrock Award recognizing his lifetime contributions to the field of hazardous materials safety by rail.

Cristofer Burch

Hazardous Material Compliance Officer
Birmingham, Al.

Cristofer Burch began his NS career as hazardous materials compliance officer for the Illinois Division in late 2016, bringing with him 25 years of experience in emergency services.

Cris is a member of the Cahokia Fire Department, where he has advanced from former roles as lieutenant and training officer to his current position as lead training officer. He also has worked in the emergency medical services field, fire equipment sales, and as a staff member at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute. Cris currently is working toward a bachelor’s degree in emergency management from Kaplan University.

Prior to NS, Cris served as manager industrial and public safety for Alton & Southern Railway since 2013, and conductor since 2008.

David Patten

Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer
Charlotte, N.C.

David Patten has been with NS for 14 years. During his time at NS, he has worked in the Transportation Department as a Trainmaster and as a Special Agent for the NS Police Department. For the last 10 years, David has worked in the Safety & Environmental Department in roles of increasing responsibility.

David has managed numerous emergency response incidents, environmental cleanups, and long-term remediation projects as member the Safety & Environmental Department. David is also experienced in hazardous waste management, wastewater treatment system design and operation, solid waste management, and environmental compliance.

Prior to NS, David worked as a criminal investigator for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina. He is also a Veteran who served in the U.S. Navy as a Master at Arms in Operation Iraqi Freedom. David holds a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and is a Certified Hazardous Material Manager (CHMM).  

The TRANSCAER® Program

Norfolk Southern works hard to ensure the safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail. A key part of that effort is voluntary participation in the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response program, known as TRANSCAER®. At TRANSCAER®-related events in 2019, Norfolk Southern employees provided training for more than 5,788 first responders in 20 states to help communities across our network prepare for and safely respond to potential incidents involving rail transport of hazardous materials. Local first responders and government officials participated in classroom and hands-on training, table top simulations, and full-scale drills. Of those trained, 2,428 were trained during 23 Safety Train events.

Achievement Award

For the 20th time and 18th consecutive year in 2019, Norfolk Southern earned a National TRANSCAER® Achievement Award. The award recognizes exceptional achievement in support of voluntary efforts by companies and others to help communities prepare for and safely respond to incidents involving transport of hazardous materials.