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Welcome to OAR!

Launched in June 2015, the goal of OAR is to educate the public about the economic importance of the safe movement of hazardous materials by rail and to connect emergency first responders in Norfolk Southern communities with information and training resources. Our website,, has the following information (and a lot more) available at the touch of a mouse.
  • Training options and sign-ups:
    • Hazmat Safety Train Program
    • Tabletop Exercises
    • SERTC Openings
    • Online Training
  • Information on what NS carries
  • How to get the AskRail™ app and other useful response tools
  • Pictures of the NS 9-1-1 locomotive
  • Railroad Emergency Phone Numbers

Norfolk Southern Safety Train Update and 2019 Schedule

The Norfolk Southern Safety Train kicked off its 2019 tour on the first day of spring in Alexandria, VA.  The Safety Train will make 23 stops in 14 different states across the Norfolk Southern system.  Over the course of the past three years, the NS OAR program has completed the following training:
  • 62 training events
  • 55 different cities (7 repeats)
  • 19 different states
  • 7,228 emergency responders trained (on the train alone)
Please see below for the 2019 schedule and sign up for classes using the calendar on the TRANSCAER® web-site at  

March 19-22                      Alexandria, VA
April 2-4                             Roanoke, VA
April 9-11                           Kingsport, TN
April 16-18                         Chattanooga, TN
April 23-25                         Rome, GA
April 30-May 2                   Atlanta, GA
May 14-16                         Raleigh, NC
May 21-23                         Rock Hill, SC
June 4-6                            Shire Oaks, PA
June 11-13                        Conway, PA
June 25-27                        Jersey City, NJ
July 9-11                            Reading, PA
July 16-18                         Mechanicville, NY (PanAm)
July 30-Aug 1                    Cleveland, OH
August 6-8                         Toledo, OH
August 13-15                     Chicago, IL
August 27-29                     Princeton, IN
September 10-12               Decatur, AL
September 17-19               Corinth, MS
October 1-3                        New Orleans, LA
October 8-10                      Slidell, LA
October 22-24                    Savannah, GA
November 5-7                    Augusta, GA

Meet the Norfolk Southern HazMat Team: Scott Deutsch

R. Scott Deutsch is Norfolk Southern’s Regional Manager of Hazardous Materials, responsible for all aspects of hazardous materials compliance, emergency responder training, emergency preparedness and response, and environmental cleanup and remediation activities across NS’ Northern Region. 

Scott joined Norfolk Southern’s Hazardous Materials team in 2015 from Allegheny County Emergency Service, where he served as assistant chief operations and training.  Prior to his service with Allegheny County Emergency Service, Scott worked in the chemical industry for 22 years, holding various positions in management and environmental health, safety, and security.  Scott is grateful to be part of Norfolk Southern’s Hazardous Materials team, saying “Every day at Norfolk Southern brings a new challenge, and those challenges present opportunities to learn something new.”

Scott earned the reputation of Pittsburgh native when he moved to the area at two years old and never left, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Point Park University.  After college, Scott dedicated the next 37 years of his career in Allegheny County’s public safety field responding to fire, rescue, hazardous material, and industrial emergencies.  When asked what he enjoys most about living in Allegheny County, Scott responded, “The location and the people.  You can live here and drive an hour in either direction to find some of the most beautiful lakes and mountains in the country.  But more importantly, Allegheny County is filled with hardworking people that are always willing to lend a helping hand.”

Norfolk Southern is fortunate to have Scott Deutsch on the HazMat team; stay tuned for the next NS OAR newsletter to meet another member!

 TRANSCAER® Torch Award Recepients

Two NS HazMat Team members recently received the TRANSCAER® Torch Award.  The award is given to TRANSCAER® Team members who have actively dedicated a portion of their professional career to the TRANSCAER® mission, but are either retiring, leaving for a new job/industry, or are leaving the program due to another unforeseen situation.  John Lerner received the award at his retirement dinner in Elkhart, IN and David Schoendorfer received the award from the Chairman at the March 2019 National TRANSCAER® meeting.

Norfolk Southern Contractor Workshop

The Norfolk Southern Safety Train spends the winter in Spencer, NC at the NC Transportation Museum, where Norfolk Southern personnel conduct routine maintenance and  upgrades to prepare the Safety Train for its annual tour. 

Norfolk Southern kicked off the 2019 Safety Train campaign in unique fashion.  While the Norfolk Southern Safety Train is primarily dedicated to providing training to first responders, we seized the opportunity to provide advanced technician level training to our emergency response contractor personnel before embarking on the 23 stop tour.

Norfolk Southern relies on the emergency response services provided by our network of contractors across our 19,500 miles of rail in 22 states.  Making sure our contractor personnel our up to the task is of vital importance to Norfolk Southern and the communities we serve.

Norfolk Southern conducted 3 days of comprehensive training to 45 students representing contractors from across our system.  The training topics included tank car recognition, tank car emergency diagnostics, and tank car emergency response repairs and procedures.

The training was capped off by a full scale response exercise.  The scenario involved simultaneous problems involving multiple tank cars.  The students put the training received during the class into action.

This was the first contractor training workshop conducted by Norfolk Southern.  Our hope to make this an ongoing program in conjunction with the Norfolk Southern Safety Train Tour.

Training in Small Communities

Norfolk Southern Hazardous Materials Officers offer and provide beneficial training to responders that serve their communities along the right of way. Both large and small communities that service our footprint need the same level of training to respond to incidents involving rail equipment and hazardous materials.  By providing this training Norfolk Southern solidifies a great working relationship with those communities so that if or when an incident occurs they have a name and face that they recognize that provides an integrated response.

Training together provides working relationships so that when something happens responders will provide a vital and safe link to the Hazardous Materials Officers who will assist them in making decisions to protect their communities.

Cold Weather/Ice Oil Spill Response Training

On February 13th NS Hazmat Compliance officer Cris Burch and Regional Manager Scott Deutsch had the opportunity to train with Canadian Pacific and the United States Coast Guard.  This was done in cooperation with TRANSCAER® and provided an excellent training event on Lake Michigan.  The 8-hour training class reviewed the strategy and tactics of Environmental Emergency Response in waterways during freezing conditions (and it looks cold in this picture).

The day started with classroom training held at the USCG facility in Milwaukee and was led by the CP’s Emergency Response Staff.  Students received training on Cold and Frozen Water Oil Spills, Self-Rescue Techniques, Cold Weather Oil Spill Response PPE, Moving Ice - Spill Response Containment, Ice Characteristics, Surface and Subsurface Oil Removal, Source Containment Techniques, and Decontamination - Cold Weather Operations.

Once the excellent classroom training was completed, it was off to Lake Michigan to start practicing hands on skills. Some of these skills included: Ice Slotting – chainsaw use, diversion and collection; Ice Slotting – using a sled saw and trenching, and how to remove ice properly.  The students had a great time trying out all of the equipment and learning these cold weather oil spill techniques.  NS would like to thank CP and the USCG for a great training opportunity.  This training will help NS in the Northern Region be better prepared for this type of incident.

New Jersey HazMat Team Training

On February 5th , NS HazMat Compliance Officer taught a TRANSCAER® course at a local fire station in New Jersey.  There were about thirty emergency responders in attendance. Some of them were firefighters who are attending their basic HazMat Technician class. Others were trained HazMat Technicians from the Franklin Township (NJ) HazMat team and the Somerset County (NJ) HazMat team. 

Keith Silverman, Chairman of the National TRANSCAER® Task Group was in attendance and said “Scott gave a great lecture, followed-up by hands-on training on the NS hazmat trailer.  The greatest thing was seeing all “hands working together” on the trailer. Scott’s professionalism, knowledge and enthusiasm made a difference. Everyone enjoyed the class!”

HazMat Training in Portsmouth, VA

In February, Norfolk Southern worked with the VA Dept. of Emergency Management (VDEM) as part of a TRANSCAER initiative to sponsor rail oriented hands-on training for local emergency at the Portsmouth HAZMAT Station, in Portsmouth, VA.  Norfolk Southern considers emergency preparedness education an essential element of responsible corporate citizenship, which in turn serves as a cornerstone to achieving sustainable business growth.   Over 25 members of the Portsmouth HAZMAT team received training in responding to rail related hazardous materials incidents. 

Norfolk Southern provided an instructor and our training trailer which is equipped with all of the valves and fitting you would see on a variety of tank cars.  The NS Training Trailer allows NS to bring the valves and fitting to the fire station, where bringing a rail car or the Safety Train is not feasible.  It also allows training to be done at ground level.   Use of the trailer allows responders to understand the look and function of various valves and fittings.  Water and air can be connected to the fittings on the trailer to allow the application of various “capping kits.”

Using the trailer, the HAZMAT Team were trained on the function and use of the various valves and fittings found on tank cars, the most common sources of leaks, and the use of capping kits of pressure tank cars.

2019 NS Railroad Emergency Response
Planning Guide

Norfolk Southern's Hazardous Materials group publishes and frequently revises a Railroad Emergency Response Planning Guide.  This Planning Guide is widely distributed to the emergency responder community during training events and is available on the OAR website. 

This Emergency Response Planning Guide can be used as an instructional tool and a reference guide to planning for and responding to emergency incidents on the railroad.  The living document has information on prevention, preparedness, and response procedures related to railroad incidents.  Additional information includes useful reference materials on rail car types, railroad hazardous material shipping papers, locomotive response, and website tool boxes.  

TRANSCAER® Seconds Count Video Series

TRANSCAER® has just released the “Seconds Count Video Series” -
NS HazMat staff helped with the production of several of the videos.  There is a lot of good information available here, so take a few minutes to check them out, because “seconds count.”

  1. What Happens When a Call Comes Into CHEMTREC®?
  2. Interview with John Modine, CHEMTREC®
  3. Interview with Tonya Ngotel, Nebraska State Coordinator
  4. Interview with Keith Silverman, Ashland, NTTG Chairman
  5. Interview with Frank Reiner, The Chlorine Institute
  6. Interview with Glen Rudner, Railroads
  7. Interview with Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association
  8. Interview with Michael Cleveland, BNSF Railway
  9. Interview with David Binder, Tanner Industries, Inc., Vice Chairman
  10. How to Read Placards
  11. Contacts and APPS for the Emergency Responder
  12. The Basics of LNG
  13. What is IDLH?
  14. What is the ERG?
  15. An Overview of Chlorine Container Auto-Refrigeration
  16. In 10 Seconds How Can You Tell if a Tank Car is Fully Loaded?
  17. Ethanol-TankCar Walkaround
  18. ChlorineTankCar Walkaround
  19. AA-TankTruck Walkaround
  20. AA-TankCar Walkaround
  21. AA-Nurse Tank Walkaround
  22. An Overview of Properties and Use of LNG
  23. What are the Emergency Response Kits for Chlorine Emergency Response?
  24. HazMat Incident: What are the First Things I Do?
  25. DOT111-117 Comparison
  26. An Overview of Double Shelf Couplers
  27. Ask Rail
  28. What Are The Levels of PPE?

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