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House Passes RESPONSE Act to Enhance Hazmat Training for Emergency Responders

The House of Representatives today approved the RESPONSE Act of 2016 (S. 546), a bill to enhance emergency responder training for incidents involving hazardous materials rail transportation.

“Rail safety is critical to the transport of goods and services through our country,” said U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Chairman of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. “I believe the RESPONSE Act will succeed in improving the safety of our nation’s rail network.”

The RESPONSE Act establishes a temporary subcommittee under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Advisory Council to provide recommendations and advice regarding emergency responder training related to hazardous materials incidents involving railroads.

The subcommittee will be composed of members from various government agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and FEMA. The subcommittee will also include non-governmental members, including those from affected industries, technical experts, and emergency responder training providers.

The RESPONSE Act will enhance rail safety by helping improve access to training for emergency responders, identifying challenges to obtaining appropriate training for emergency responders, modernizing training course content related to rail hazardous materials incidents, and identifying strategies to integrate data regarding the flow of hazardous materials by rail and other relevant data for local emergency responders.

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