This bill seeks to increase transport safety on trains, while establishing new safety training for emergency responders.
As its name suggests, this bill establishes the Railroad Emergency Services Preparedness, Operational Needs, and Safety Evaluation Subcommittee, aptly acronym-ed “RESPONSE.” Reporting directly to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the RESPONSE committee would include FEMA members, local and state government members, rail and oil industry employees and, of course, emergency response personnel. Together, this Justice League of People That Know a Lot About Disasters would evaluate and form recommendations around training and best practices for railroad hazmat emergencies.
Within twelve months of their formation, the RESPONSE committee would offer recommendations on improving rail safety including:
- Information on preparing communities near railroads, particularly small ones with limited resources;
- An evaluation of funding for emergency responder training;
- Considerations when drawing up disaster plans for train derailments (similar to plans for tsunamis or earthquakes);
- Strategies for information integration, and an analysis of whether a database of rail incidents is necessary, plus information on public access of information about rail accidents.