Manuals and Documents

NS Railroad Emergency Response Planning Guide

The Norfolk Southern Emergency Response Planning Guide has been developed by Norfolk Southern Railway Company (Norfolk Southern) to assist local emergency response organizations in their efforts to plan for and respond to railway related incidents or emergencies. It is also designed to be utilized as a reference resource, and hand-out to supplement training programs presented by Norfolk Southern to the emergency response community.

Because this Guide is designed to augment the local response plan(s), it is purposely brief to cover only the key information that would be needed by planners and response organizations if an incident involving Norfolk Southern should occur. The Guide is subdivided into four main sections, addressing Prevention, Preparedness, Response, and Recognition & Identification. Appendices are included which contain other pertinent railroad information.

NS HazMat Traffic Request Form

Data on the common types of hazardous materials being transported through local communities are useful for local emergency planners in developing effective and realistic emergency response plans. To request information specific to your jurisdiction send an email request to NS at The request must include a written request on official department letterhead and the completed NS HazMat Traffic Form Request.

AAR Field Guide To Tank Cars

Field Guide to Tank Cars is intended to be used by emergency responders and others involved with railroad tank cars.  It provides information on the types, safety systems, stenciling, and markings of tank cars utilized to transport regulated (hazardous materials/dangerous goods) and non-regulated commodities.


PHMSA - Commodity Preparedness and Incident Management Reference Sheet – Petroleum Crude Oil

Developed in conjunction with experts from the hazmat emergency response community, railroads and industry, this document provides emergency response organizations with a standard incident management framework based on pre-incident planning and preparedness principles and best practices. The reference sheet covers transportation safety and precautions, hazard assessment and risk, rail safety procedures, logistics, and the tools, equipment and resources necessary to prepare for and respond to crude oil rail transportation incidents.


PHMSA - Lessons Learned Report on Crude Oil by Rail Emergency Response

In May 2014, in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, PHMSA hosted a “Lessons Learned” Roundtable forum that consisted of a panel of fire chiefs and emergency management officials from some of the jurisdictions that experienced a crude oil or ethanol rail transportation incident. The purpose of this forum was to share firsthand knowledge about their experiences responding to and managing these significant rail incidents.


NFPA / Fire Protection Research Foundation – High Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFT) On-Scene Incident Commander Field Guide

This Guide (July 2016) provides tactical guidance and information for the On-Scene Incident Commander responsible for the management of bulk flammable liquid emergencies involving High Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFT), with a focus upon petroleum crude oil and ethanol. The application and use of a risk-based response (RBR) methodology for both planning and response purposes are critical success factors in the successful management of a HHFT incident.


Chronology of DOT Actions on Safe Transportation of Flammable Liquids By Rail

PHMSA and FRA are committed to immediate and long-term solutions to prevent derailments involving flammable liquids and, in the event of a derailment, the consequences such an incident could have on individuals and communities. The PHMSA/FRA action plan includes unannounced spot inspections, sampling, and monitoring the movement and classification of crude oil within and out of oil fields throughout the U.S. In addition, we are engaging all stakeholders involved in shipping crude oil and other flammable liquids by rail to find common solutions to operational issues.


Tank Car Damage Assessment Best Practices


AAR Emergency Action Guides

The purpose of the Emergency Action Guides are to provide accurate information about the hazardous commodities most frequently carried in bulk by rail transport. The guides provide data for 268 commodities representing about 98% by volume of hazmat carried by rail in a downloadable and printable format.