March 23, 2016: Canadian Government Simulating Crude Oil Derailments

In an effort to improve preparedness of the emergency workers responding to accidents involving crude oil trains the Canadian government has been using flammable liquid used in firefighter training to create situations that mimic the 2013 Lac-Mégantic derailment and subsequent explosion. In the most recent training exercise firefighters arrived at a derailment that included 11 smoking tanks. The purpose of the training is to teach them how to identify the contents of each tank and decide if it would be safe for them to intervene at that time while also learning the proper way to extinguish the fire.
The  Lac-Mégantic tragedy lead to improved procedures and emergency response techniques and changes to the minimum crew requirements, speed limits, and the design of the tank cars used to transport crude oil. Transport Canada now requires frequent audits and track inspections, improved communication between municipalities, and has made changes to the Railway Safety Act.
The debate over whether it is safer to transport crude oil by rail or pipeline is still ongoing as both sides believe their method is safer.

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