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State regulators approve rail safety grants for South King Fire and Rescue
LACEY, Wash. – State regulators approved more than $21,000 in grant funding to improve emergency response at railroad crossings in King County.
The Utilities and Transportation Commission approved two Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) grants at the request of South King Fire and Rescue to purchase specialized equipment for its Hazardous Materials Unit. The funding will support the purchase of an aerial drone for $13,866 and a weather station for $7,377.
This technology will allow first responders to quickly, safely, and effectively assess rail incidents and derailments, particularly those involving hazardous materials transported along high-density rail lines in the most populous county in the state.
South King Fire and Rescue, Hazmat 361, is the first responding hazardous materials unit for any railroad or crossing incident involving hazardous materials spills in South King County. The unit consists of 12 firefighters who respond to, assess and mitigate hazardous material incidents.
The UTC regulates the rates and services of household goods movers; passenger transportation companies; investor-owned electric, natural gas, garbage, and water utilities; landline telecommunications companies; garbage haulers; commercial ferries; pipeline companies; marine pilotage; and a low-level radioactive waste repository.
The 1969 Legislature created the GCPF program to provide money for safety measures to reduce accidents and fatalities at public and private crossings and along railroad tracks.
The UTC regulates railroad safety, including approving new grade crossings and closing or altering existing rail crossings, investigating train accidents, inspecting public railroad crossings, approving safety projects and managing safety education through Operation Lifesaver.