Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service secures annual hazardous materials training grant

February 27, 2024

Texas A&M’s TEEX awarded federal grants for hazardous materials training

For the eighth year in a row, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) has received a Hazardous Materials Instructor Training (HMIT) Grant.

This year’s grant totals $376,961 and is funded by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) under the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The grant is allocated to train instructors across the United States, who then provide training on Hazardous Materials Regulations to employees.

Taylor Hartmann, TEEX Training Coordinator, emphasized the value of the grant: “The HMIT Grant provides valuable training for employees on understanding the Hazardous Materials Regulations so they can prepare and transport hazardous materials safely.

“This training leads to fewer hazmat incidents and is essential for a safer transportation network within the United States.

“We are very thankful for PHMSA’s continued commitment to the safety and well-being of the public.”

Expansion of training to first responders through new grant

In a significant development, TEEX has also received a first-time PHMSA Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training (ALERT) grant amounting to $295,000.

This grant aims to train first responders in handling railcar emergencies involving flammable gases and flammable liquids.

With this funding, TEEX plans to offer an additional 12 classes over the next year at no cost to the participants.

Furthermore, TEEX is committed to supporting departments from underserved communities by covering lodging expenses.

Nick Hickson, TEEX Training Manager, detailed the benefits of the ALERT grant: “With the PHMSA ALERT Grant, TEEX will be able to train responders from the United States to safely and effectively respond to incidents involving railcars.

“This training will be conducted at TEEX’s Brayton Fire Training Field to allow class participants to train on actual railcars, protective housings, leaking valves, and a full-scale train derailment.

“This training on life-size props allows participants to gain essential knowledge that is difficult to obtain with pictures, videos, or cut-down models. This will allow responders to return to their communities better prepared.”

Importance of continuous training for hazardous materials safety

The consistent funding and expansion of training programs underline the importance of ongoing education in hazardous materials safety.

Through the HMIT and ALERT grants, TEEX continues to play a pivotal role in enhancing the safety and preparedness of both employees and first responders across the nation.

FSJA Comment

The continued investment in hazardous materials training by the PHMSA, as demonstrated through the grants awarded to TEEX, highlights a proactive approach to enhancing national safety standards in the transportation and handling of hazardous materials.

The dual focus on training both employees and first responders ensures a comprehensive safety net, minimizing the risks associated with hazardous materials incidents.

The collaboration between federal agencies and training institutions like TEEX exemplifies a model of effective partnership in public safety and emergency response training.

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