Action Update: August 21, 2008
City Addresses Community Concerns; Fire Department Obtains Ethanol-Related Equipment, Supplies
During August, City staff has worked with the Cameron Station and Summers Grove communities regarding the concerns raised from the proximity of the ethanol operation to their communities and Samuel Tucker Elementary School. The Alexandria Fire Department requested, and has received equipment and supplies from Norfolk Southern that now make it the preeminent fire agency in the Washington area for fighting ethanol-related fires. All members of the Fire Department have been trained on the nuances of fighting ethanol fires.
City’s Office of Emergency Management Disseminates Emergency Plans; School Evacuation Gate Installed
The Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Management has developed and disseminated emergency shelter-in-place/evacuation plans for Cameron Station and Summers Grove, and has coordinated with Alexandria Public School officials on its evacuation plan for the students and staff of Samuel Tucker Elementary School. For school evacuation purposes, an ADA-compliant emergency gate was built for the fence that separates Cameron Station from the adjacent Home Depot, which will be used as a safe shelter.
An ADA-compliant asphalt walkway will be constructed to complete the gate project. Emergency management personnel visited businesses in Cameron Station, including the Bright Start preschool and daycare facilities, and have discussed the emergency plans and their preparedness for an emergency.
Vice Mayor, City Staff Make Presentation to Tucker Elementary School PTA
On August 19, Vice Mayor Pepper and City staff made a presentation to the Samuel Tucker Elementary School PTA, sharing information about the ethanol transloading operation and the emergency evacuation plan for the school.
City Representatives Meet with WMATA Officials
On August 21, Project Manager Steve Mason and Emergency Management Planner Ashley Ehrhart met with WMATA officials to discuss the Norfolk Southern ethanol transloading operation, which is located close to the Van Dorn Metrorail Station. The meeting included WMATA officials Ron Keele, Chief Safety Officer; Joan LeLacheur, Director of Environmental Management and Industrial Hygiene; and Ron Bodmer, Emergency Management Coordinator. During the meeting the group
- Reviewed maps showing the relative locations of the Norfolk Southern ethanol transloading facility and the Van Dorn Metro rail station.
- Discussed WMATA's procedures for stopping Metro rail traffic, when necessary.
- Discussed emergency communication between City of Alexandria emergency response personnel and WMATA in the event of any incident that could potentially impact the Van Dorn Metro station.
- Received advice from WMATA’s Ron Bodmer that the three WMATA entities that need to be called immediately in the event of an incident are the Rail Operations Control Center, the Bus Operations Control Center, and the Transit Police. Alexandria's Fire Communications dispatchers are familiar with and have direct access to all of these entities.
- Discussed the City's plans for evacuation of neighborhoods surrounding the Norfolk Southern facility, and discussed the possibility of evacuation of the Van Dorn Metro station, as well as the potential for individuals to be sheltered there, in the event of a spill or fire event at the transloading facility.
Other meeting highlights included the following:
- Mr. Bodmer offered to research and provide rail ridership statistics (e.g., average peak and non-peak passenger counts) for Van Dorn Station.
- Following the meeting, Mr. Bodmer provided City representatives a tour of the rail and bus operations centers. During this tour, the representatives were introduced to Jeffrey Anderson, Assistant Superintendent of the Bus Operations Control Center, and Mr. Anderson offered to provide the City with ridership numbers for busses at the Van Dorn Station, which include DASH and Fairfax Connector busses.