Appropriation to Lake Superior College provides for training for oil-related accidents
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Almost exactly two years ago, a mile-long train carrying oil from Canada derailed near Parkers Prairie in Minnesota, spilling 30,000 gallons of crude oil. Fire and emergency crews from the local area, 150 miles north of the metro, were first on the scene – dealing with a dangerous situation that’s only grown more common as the number of trains carrying oil across the state has increased dramatically in recent years. Ensuring our local responders – many of whom are volunteers – have the training necessary to properly handle these scenarios is a growing concern across the state.
Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) is chief authoring a bill this session to add this type of training to the Lake Superior College’s existing Emergency Response Training Center (ERTC) programming. The bill calls for $1.13 million to help equip the program with simulators and training for firefighters, first responders, and related local personnel, specifically related to emergency responses to accidents from transportation of hazardous materials by rail and pipeline.
“Lake Superior College already has an excellent fire response training program, and this money will help Minnesota first responders get the training they need to deal with this very specific, and highly dangerous risk. Local responders are at their best when they can train with simulators that resemble specific hazards that may occur in the line of duty. Increasingly, those dangers include dealing with hazardous materials like oil. I believe all of our first responders should be prepared adequately,” said Senator Reinert.
Currently, first responders in Minnesota often travel out of state to receive this training, which costs time and money many first responders and their local communities don’t have. The increased funding would allow Lake Superior College ERTC to train 1,500 responders per year.