Every year, BNSF trains 6,000 to 10,000 first responders in Railroad Emergency Response and Hazardous Material Awareness. This year is no different even with COVID-19. Thanks to virtual training initiated by BNSF, first responders are able to learn from the comfort of their homes and stations.

During 90-minute webinar sessions, full-time and volunteer emergency workers learn how to safely and efficiently respond to railroad hazardous material (hazmat) incidents. Training sessions have been free and so are the webinars. Although spills and hazardous material incidents are extremely rare, BNSF recognizes that first responders need to be prepared if they occur. Since 1996, we’ve trained more than 120,000 responders, both online and in person. The live webinars are a first.

BNSF officials initially expected approximately 30 people to register, but about 1,000 have signed up since the webinars were initiated in March. There are currently four webinars scheduled with about 250 attendees per session. The online platform allows firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders to continue education, which is often required to maintain certification in their fields.

Learn more about first responder training here.