High Hazard Flammable Liquid Train (HHFT) Incidents: Myths, Facts and Observations   [open pdf - 462KB]

"This background paper will focus on flammable liquid unit trains, primarily those transporting crude oil and ethanol. The U.S. Department of Transportation -- Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (DOT / PHMSA) defines High Hazard Flammable Liquid Trains (HHFT) as trains that have a continuous block of twenty (20) or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid or thirty-five (35) or more cars loaded with a flammable liquid dispersed through a train. The objectives of this paper are to assist emergency planning and response personnel in preparing for HHFT incident scenarios. The information is based upon an analysis of previous HHFT incidents that have occurred, the lessons learned, and the input and experiences of approximately fifteen emergency response peers representing the railroad and petroleum industries, emergency response contractors, and the public safety emergency response community. See the Annex for the list of emergency response peers who participated in this process. The information provided in this paper is intended to supplement HHFT planning and training information already being used within the emergency response community, such as the 'DOT / PHMSA Petroleum Crude Oil Commodity Preparedness and Incident Management Reference Sheet' (September 2014). The issues outlined in this paper focus upon 'What do we know about HHFT emergency response and incident management operations that is considered to be either factual or has been validated through science or engineering?' and 'What have we repeatedly observed at HHFT scenarios but has not yet been validated by either science or testing?'"

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