MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. --
Fire and Emergency Services has added a new Three Dome Railroad Tank Car Training Simulator to their training facility aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif. in August.
“The device replicates actual access, working space and height of a railcar,” said Ryan Tworek, FES deputy chief. “The three domes offer realistic training opportunities with a chlorine dome, pressure dome and a general service dome which all function like the domes on railcars that cross our base every day.”
The chlorine and pressure domes are plumbed to provide leaks with vapor and liquid lines as well as safety relief valves. For leaks firefighters are able to access the dome, assess the leak and cause, and then make the unit safe. The leaks can be caused by vibration opening a valve, failure of a safety relief valve, or a valve that is not properly secured.
The general service dome is plumbed to leak from a liquid valve and requires that firefighters provide a source for water and compressed air to operate properly. To do this, the unit is outfitted with a standard water hose connection and quick disconnect air hose connection, Tworek explained.
“The vapor leaks are just a combination of air and water forced through a valve,” he said. “The domes look and function like real leaks, so it challenges the firefighters to mitigate potentially dangerous situations such as closing valves, tightening nuts, or disable a valve while wearing a full hazardous materials suit. The suits limit dexterity and visibility some so it can be a difficult task to master.”
“MCLB Barstow has the largest railhead in the Department of Defense,” said Chad Hildebrandt, Railway Operations supervisor for the base.
The trains that cross the base vary in what they carry from military equipment to commercial products.
“With the number and types of railcars that cross this base,” Tworek said, “the possibility of an incident requiring an emergency response is high. It’s important that our FES personnel have this sort of training in order to ensure a swift and successful response should anything happen.”