COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that Norfolk Southern Corporation has agreed to his idea to improve and expand firefighter training by creating a new first responders training center and expanding its Operation Awareness & Response (OAR) program.
The location of the center has not been determined, but in the meantime, training classes will take place starting on March 22 in Bellevue, Ohio.
According to the press release, the new safety training center’s mission will be focused on providing additional, free training for first responders across the region, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. This effort will also strengthen coordination between railroads and first responders in the event of an emergency response.
“These commitments are the direct result of my conversations with Governor DeWine and other leaders, all to better support our first responders and their communities. First responders are often immediately on the scene of a rail incident and we want to ensure they have the knowledge and tools to work safely and effectively to protect the health and safety of their fellow citizens,” said Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan H. Shaw.
The OAR program trains first responders on how to remove safely rail incidents. Norfolk Southern is also expanding its OAR program, which was created to connect emergency first responders in Norfolk Southern communities with information and training resources.
First responders will be offered hands-on training in the form of the program’s safety train, which includes a dedicated locomotive, specially equipped classroom box cars and several tank cars.