DHS sticks with hazmat placards
The Department of Homeland Security has decided not to change the placard system used on railcars to identify the category of hazardous material carried onboard, Secretary Michael Chertoff said Friday.
In an address to a firefighting group Friday, Chertoff said the value of the placards in helping emergency responders quickly understand the nature of the hazard and how to contain any potential threat without endangering their lives outweighs any potential the signs may help terrorists pick out railcars for attack. Emergency response groups opposed the elimination of placards. Homeland Security recommended that the Department of Transportation, which is responsible for railroad safety, continue the current practice of using placards
The Transportation Security Administration recently completed tests on alternative technologies that could lead to the replacement of the placard system, but Chertoff said the technologies need more work before they can provide the same level of effectiveness.