The Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) was formed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) in 2006 with organizations representing emergency responders and the fire protection industry to support safety concerns with the transporting and handling of renewable fuels—specifically ethanol and ethanol blended fuels. As increasing amounts of renewable fuels were produced, it was critical that emergency responders had the knowledge necessary to respond to these incidents. The EERC’s mission was to enhance the knowledge, capability and readiness of operational emergency response agencies to effectively respond to fires, spills and other emergencies involving ethanol and ethanol blended fuels. Through the EERC the Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response training program was developed as a tool for emergency responders to improve their knowledge and ability to respond to emergencies involving ethanol and ethanol blended fuels, which allows them to make informed decisions regarding capability based on community risk and other factors.
The EERC developed:
- A scientifically based body of information regarding effective fire and spill control methods involving all aspects of ethanol and ethanol blended fuels as it relates to emergency response. This included an evaluation of firefighting and spill suppression agents (foams), equipment, tactical and strategic considerations and other related issues.
- Educational materials, training programs and other products for emergency responders that will improve their knowledge of and ability to respond to emergencies involving ethanol and ethanol blended fuels, and allow them to make informed decisions regarding capability based on community risk and other factors.
- Provided for the distribution and access of training materials, reports and other programs to emergency responders and others.
The EERC disbanded in 2013 but RFA continued the training program and has hosted hundreds of Ethanol Safety Seminars across the country. Attendees of the Ethanol Safety Seminars received in-depth information on proper training techniques that first responders and hazmat personnel need to effectively respond to an ethanol-related emergency. While primarily targeting emergency responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, they were also open to the public. This program now has moved forward to become a national training program for those who respond to emergency hazardous materials incidents.
The RFA has also developed Train the Trainer courses which are intended to develop instructors to lead operations level training. The instructors are responders who have an awareness level of hazardous material storage, handing, and emergency response. The learning objectives established are relevant objectives that the instructors must understand. The seminars and webinars are open to all professional individuals above the technical level of training who are interested in learning how to teach ethanol emergency response. However, the instruction is tailored toward ethanol production facility employees, ethanol safety professionals, railroad safety professionals, emergency responders, firefighters, police officers, emergency management professionals, etc.