Norfolk Southern breaks ground on regional safety training center in Ohio
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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2023 ~ Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) broke ground Thursday on its First Responder Training Center in East Palestine, Ohio. The new regional safety training center will provide ongoing, free training for first responders from Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the greater region.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan H. Shaw said, "Norfolk Southern is committed to setting the gold standard for safety in the rail industry, and first responders are critical to that mission. First responders are heroes, and we aim to ensure they have the training and expertise to do their jobs safely, no matter the situation. We are grateful to East Palestine's leaders for partnering with us to make this training center a reality."

The new center will attract firefighters and first responders from the region, offering traditional fire service training as well as specialized training for responding to rail and other transportation-related emergencies. Participating at today's groundbreaking were Shaw; East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway; East Palestine Fire Chief Keith Drabick; State Representative Monica Robb Blasdell; State Senator Mike Rulli; local fire fighters; police officers; and Norfolk Southern Vice President of Safety John Fleps.

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Fleps said that "this training center, and our previously expanded Operation Awareness and Response program, will provide first responders across the region with essential training on how to respond to unlikely rail incidents. We're excited to get the training center up and running to bring more capacity for first responder training to all types of incidents, while strengthening the network of professionals specially trained to respond to rail incidents."

Norfolk Southern will invest at least $20 million in the new center over the next 10 years. The center will operate through a partnership with the Village of East Palestine at no cost to them or taxpayers. It will establish a lasting presence in the region promoting top-tier training for years to come. The center is temporarily operating out of Norfolk Southern's rail yard in Bellevue where more than 400 local emergency personnel have received training this year. Preliminary designs for the new facility are currently being developed by architecture and engineering firm Arcadis.

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Training opportunities at the center will include classroom instruction, web-based resources, table-top drills, full-scale emergency response exercises as well as other specialized trainings opportunities. Regional traffic generated by this investment is expected bring additional customers into area businesses which works in tandem with a $500 thousand economic development grant recently awarded by Norfolk Southern to East Palestine Village Council. To date Norfolk Southern has committed $95 million dollars towards East Palestine's future development projects which can be found on their website
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