APCO Offers Recommendations For Notifying ECCs of Rail Incidents Involving Hazardous Materials

On October 27, APCO filed comments with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) regarding proposed rules to notify emergency communications centers (ECCs) of rail incidents involving hazardous materials. PHMSA proposed to require railroads to maintain an electronic database containing information on the hazardous materials being transported by train and, in the event of an accident, push this information out to emergency responders within a 10-mile radius.

In comments, APCO highlighted the importance of promptly notifying ECCs of rail incidents involving hazardous materials and suggested that notification be completed by calling 9-1-1. APCO also recommended that railroad operators maintain appropriate contact information for ECCs along their routes. Finally, APCO cautioned against relying solely on ECCs to share information with first responders via an app or other technologies and noted that, until Next Generation 9-1-1 is achieved nationwide, ECCs will have varying technical capabilities to push out information to other responders.