PHMSA awards $20 million in Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grants

Published on October 06, 2016 by Robert Moore

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) awarded $20 million in Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants on Monday to states, territories and Native American tribes responding to hazardous materials transportation incidents.

The HMEP grants aim to allow emergency response personnel to maintain the safety of themselves and the public when responding to hazardous materials related emergencies.

“The department’s partnership with our states, territories and tribes is an integral component of our strong national safety program,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “These grants are important tools for communities to plan and stay prepared for transportation incidents involving hazardous materials, including those involving high-hazard flammable trains.”

The HMEP grant program is part of a larger plan by the DOT to improve the safe transportation of hazardous materials, including crude oil, across the country. The HMEP grants enable states, territories and tribes to design and implement the planning and training programs that best meet the recipients’ specific needs.

Recipients were encouraged to consider emergency plans and training activities for bulk transportation of energy products by rail or road. PHMSA also suggested initiating commodity flow studies to measure the frequency and quantity of hazardous materials shipments transported through local communities. Grant recipients were encouraged to allocate funding toward training emergency responders how to respond appropriately when incidents involving hazardous materials occur.

“Our nation’s emergency responders have an immensely challenging job, and this grant funding supports their efforts to protect our communities,” PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez said. “PHMSA has taken a comprehensive approach to enhance the safe transportation of energy products that includes prevention, mitigation, and emergency preparedness and response. These grants are another critical element of our focus to improve safety.”