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LEPC hosts specialized first responder training following East Palestine

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Feb 28, 2023

The Union Pacific Railroad will be hosting a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) training session for first responders this week.

The purpose of the LEPC training is to familiarize first responders with hazardous materials that are found on trains that run throughout Corpus Christi. Each year, the training focuses on a different chemical hazard. This year it was hydrogen fluoride.

Unlike the derailment in Ohio, hydrogen fluoride does not run near neighborhoods or residential streets in Corpus Christi, they run near industrial areas. Industrial partners were at the training on Tuesday and will continue to show up the rest of the week.

The Corpus Christi Fire Department Battalion Chief Tony Perez told KRIS 6 News that there is no way to prevent a toxic derailment from happening here. The most first responders can do is know how to be prepared.

There are four different break-out groups at the training. These include engine training, tank car training, flat car and trailer.

"We do commodity studies with rail. We’re able to see what commodities are coming through our community. So HF is one that is obviously here because of it’s use in industry," Perez said.

With how consequential the train derailment in Ohio was, emergency services are learning from it here.

"We’re still early in that," Perez said. "We in HAZMAT, we use a lot of case studies and after-action reports, so that’s a big part of how we do our trainings. Any mistakes that were made, we wanna make sure we never make those mistakes again and anything that worked really well we wanna make sure that’s good we wanna make sure that we do that."

This is the sixth year the training takes place. The same training will be held for different groups the next two days, leading up to a full-scale exercise on Friday.