Between Highway 34, Interstate 35 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, Osceola is quite the traffic hub.
That's why it's important to have emergency and response training.
There will be a TRANSCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) event in Osceola June 19 and 20. Times haven't been scheduled yet.
"It's a training on ethanol, in case there's a derailment, an accident on the highway … how the first responders would respond on what to do with the tank cars," said Allan Mathias, Clarke County emergency management coordinator, during an Osceola City Council meeting Dec. 18.
TRANSCAER is a voluntary national outreach effort that assists communities with major transportation routes within its jurisdiction and addresses potential community concerns about the transportation of hazardous materials.
TRANSCAER officials assist in the development and evaluation of community emergency response plans for hazmat transportation. Participants are organized at the state level, and they work with communities with hazmat transportation routes.
Mathias said Osceola was one of four cities in northern Iowa and three in southern Iowa chosen for the program.
The other two southern cities are Burlington and Glenwood.
Mathias said the railroad will bring in a locomotive, train-tank car, ethanol-tank car (low pressure), high-pressure tank car, flat car with containers and possibly a couple of semi-trailers.
The cars will probably be pulled off of the main railway and put onto a side railway near the depot and Ayers Street, Mathias said. A shelter area, most likely tents, will be needed for people in attendance.
One idea was using the depot for the shelter.
Mayor Fred Diehl said the depot would work nicely, but there might be construction and remodeling going on during that time.
Training will be provided in two blocks, the morning and afternoon, with each training approximately three hours long.
"I've had people say it's very interesting for people outside of the first-responder group to come — elected officials and just the general public," Mathias said.
A typical training day starts at 8 a.m. with training rotations lasting approximately an hour and then a short break.
TRANSCAER provides high-quality training at no expense to the public. All training expenses and costs are covered by TRANSCAER member companies.
One way to sign up is at www.TRANSCAER.com/events.
Local agencies may want to display their response and command vehicles and equipment.
"It could bring a lot of people to Clarke County," Mathias said.