By John Toole
---- — New Hampshire is getting more than $136,000 in federal aid to train for disasters with hazardous materials.
Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Annie McLane Kuster, both D-N.H., announced the grant this week.
“With an oil pipeline that runs through the North Country, active shipping lanes on the Seacoast and responsibility for everything in between, New Hampshire’s first responders must be prepared for a potential hazardous material incident,” Shea-Porter said.
The funding will help first responders train and prepare to keep the public safe, Kuster said.
The training grant pleased state officials.
“This funding is incredibly important to the state,” said Les Cartier, hazardous materials technical response coordinator for the State Fire Marshal’s Office. “These are the guys that actually respond, take care of and evaluate hazardous material situations of all kinds.”
Training isn’t a onetime effort.
“The training has to be continuous,” he said. “It increases the safety of our citizens and visitors to New Hampshire.”
This summer’s rail disaster in Quebec highlighted another potential danger, increasing oil shipments through Southern New Hampshire communities including Plaistow, Newton, Kingston and Atkinson.
Officials expressed confidence that the rail line, which also transports passengers, is among the safest around. But at the time local officials acknowledged they already have met for rail safety training and that the Quebec explosion would be a topic for future safety discussions.