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State Fire Marshal

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Minnesota Rail Safety

DPS offers funding from the Railroad and Pipeline Safety Account to communities that are interested in emergency response and preparedness training opportunities. To apply, download and complete the application (along with any additional information or supporting documents) and submit for review of your request.

Rail and Pipeline Funding Application

Rail Safety Latest Developments

Investing in Railway Safety

Accidents in nearby states involving trains carrying crude oil have raised concerns over the safety of Minnesota’s railways and the people living near them.

Legislation signed in July 2014 by Governor Mark Dayton requires the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to provide oil transportation awareness trainings to local jurisdictions across the state.

  • As of December 31, 2018: 6,399 first responders from 219 departments and agencies have been trained to better understand the hazards posed by the transportation of oil and other hazardous substances and how to best protect the public’s safety.
    • 302 classroom sessions have been held.
    • Additional sessions are currently scheduled.
  • Three table top exercises related to oil transportation have been completed.
  • Participants are provided a map of their jurisdiction describing the important community assets within a half mile of the rail line.
  • All state Chemical Assessment and Emergency Response Teams have received advanced training in response to crude oil.
  • Five approved training providers are currently teaching the next level (operations) of training.
    • 88 sessions have been conducted as of December 31, 2018.
    • 1,579 first responders from 68 departments and agencies have completed this course.
  • The oil training advisory group was formed with state agency participation from: Department of Public Safety, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education.
DPS has completed its report outlining Minnesota’s response capabilities for an oil transportation incident. This report presents key findings on emergency preparedness, training of first responders and recommendations for implementing best practices.

Rail Safety Overview

Rail safety legislation was signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014 to help protect those who live and work near railways that carry crude oil and other hazardous materials. The new law includes:
  • Increased oversight of railroad companies,
  • Requires more railway inspections, and
  • Provides for better emergency response training and preparedness in communities across the state
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is involved in the following ways:
  • Working with railroad and pipeline companies in developing safety protocols and facilitating coordination between these companies and local public safety officials.
  • Assisting local governments as they include emergency response information into their emergency operations plans.
  • Collaborating with local emergency managers and responders to understand the dangers of oil and other hazardous substances traveling through Minnesota.
  • Partnering with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the railroads to carry out the rail safety legislation. 

Rail Safety Information and Resources