OLYMPIA — Do you know what to do if there is an oil train accident near your home? Nearly 800,000 Washingtonians live right next to a rail line since oil trains run through densely populated cities, yet very little information is available from the state to the public about public health risks associated with oil train accidents. Exposure to explosions, fires, oil spills and more can impact air and water quality in addition to the initial damage to local homes and businesses.
That’s why Representative Christine Kilduff (D—University Place) has introduced legislation to require the state create emergency preparedness guidelines to advise the public of the health risks and what citizens and businesses should do in the event of hazardous conditions.
“People need to know how to protect their families during an emergency and oil trains represent a very serious threat to public health,” said Kilduff. “Educating working families about the health risks and what to do during an oil train accident is common sense and I will work hard to convince my colleagues that this needs to become law.”
To aid in the development of an awareness and education outreach program, HB 1698 will require the state Department of Health to consult and collaborate with local city and county officials, first responders, and public health authorities in communities where oil trains travel.