Essential Pittsburgh: Crude Oil Transport Safety Concerns

Feb 25, 2015

Despite safety improvements, there seems to be an increase in the number of fuel train accidents. So what safety improvements are needed? What has been learned from the recent accident in West Virginia

Reporter Jon Schmitz has been covering this issue for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He says that although there is universal agreement that the old car designs are unsafe, recent accidents have proven the new CPC 1232 designs are also insufficient. 

Michael Huss, Pittsburgh's Deputy Director of Public Safety addresses first responder preparedness and other local concerns. He expressed a desire to re-route the materials to avoid heavily-populated areas to lower the severity of any possible incidents:

“Any time you’re trying to manage risk you look not only at the probability but the severity of an accident. Although it has a low probability it has a high consequence if there is an incident.” -Michael Huss

Patricia Reilly, Senior Vice President of the Association of American Railroads talks about what has been developed to assist first responders:

“Most recently there’s been a mobile phone app which has been developed called AskRail that the railroads are sharing with designated firefighters that gives you the information on a train and, if there is an incident, it provides you with the information of how to deal with it. That information exists today with the conductor & the engineer, but this is a realization that things are needed much more real-time.” - Patricia Reilly

To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here