Industry Resources: Safety Information

The U.S. ethanol industry takes the safety of its employees, community neighbors, and the first responders tasked with confronting ethanol incidents very seriously. We have a very good track record and intend to keep it that way.

To ensure the continued safety of those who come in contact with ethanol, the Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to offer resources for ethanol biorefineries and first responders alike to help mitigate the impacts of ethanol incidents. Members can find additional information in the Member Center.

On this page:

Training Material

Upcoming Ethanol Safety Seminars

Map of All Ethanol Safety Seminars

Ethanol Training Tour

Safety Seminar Articles

Additional Resources & Information

Training Material

The Complete Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response

With the ethanol industry experiencing significant growth year after year, it is inevitable that this domestic made fuel will be incorporated into the lives of American’s one way or another. Don’t be caught in an ethanol related emergency unprepared. If you have a background in hazmat safety, this training package will be extremely beneficial with information about ethanol and other fuel related incidents, giving the sources to be knowledgeable and prepared for any emergency situation.

This package includes an instructor’s guide and student manuals to create interactive workshops, with supporting videos and other presentation materials. This diverse training package will help to provide a complete look at all the considerations and issues to ethanol related fires, spills and other emergencies. The package will also include guidelines for fire departments that have ethanol production facilities in their communities.

The training program itself consists of seven modules, each focusing on a specific and important aspect of ethanol response. The topics include a basic understanding of characteristics of ethanol and other fuels; transportation and transfers of ethanol fuels, principles of fire fighting foam and bulk storage considerations. The interactive workshops give those being trained a chance to test what they have learned periodically throughout the program making training certification easy.

Incorporating this course will provide an advantage to those in the hazmat related field. Take the time to become prepared for any ethanol and other fuel related incident. You won’t be disappointed. For more information, please visit the Emergency Ethanol Coalition Response (EERC) website at or contact

Training Manual:

Introduction to Ethanol Training Module

Module 1: Ethanol and Ethanol-Blended Fuels

Powerpoint for Module 1 (PDF format)

Module 2: Chemical & Physical Characteristics of Ethanol and Hydrocarbon Fuels

Powerpoint for Module 2 (PDF format)

Module 3: Transportation and Transfer of Ethanol-Blended Fuels

Powerpoint for Module 3 (PDF format)

Module 4: Storage and Dispensing Locations

Powerpoint for Module 4 (PDF format)

Module 5: Fire Fighting Foam Principles and Ethanol-Blended Fuel

Powerpoint for Module 5 (PDF format)

Module 6: Health & Safety Considerations for Ethanol-Blended Fuel Emergencies

Powerpoint for Module 6 (PDF format)

Module 7: Tank Farm & Bulk Storage Fire Incidents

Powerpoint for Module 7 (PDF format)


1. Ethanol: Response Considerations (to be used in conjunction with the above training manual): PC users can click view the video in Windows Media Player. Mac users can use QuickTime. You can download a free version of WMP or QuickTime.

2. Responding to Ethanol Incidents: This 20-minute video provides the information first responders, and firefighters in particular, will need if they are called to an ethanol incident. PC users can view the video in Windows Media Player. Mac users can use QuickTime. You can download a free version of WMP or QuickTime. To download the order form, click here.


Nothing surpasses safety as a priority for the RFA and its members. Whether it is employees at ethanol biorefineries or our neighbors in the communities we serve, the ethanol industry takes its safety responsibility seriously. The RFA has led the industry’s efforts to educate the nation’s first responders on the characteristics of ethanol-related incidents and provide them with the information, tools, and training they need to respond swiftly and effectively in the unlikely event of an incident. Since December of 2010, the RFA has hosted over 30 Ethanol Safety Seminars in 20 states and counting; but this is only the beginning of a broader effort. RFA, under the EERC banner, is updating the training materials used by thousands of emergency responders to ensure the information is the most accurate and up-to-date educational experience for fire departments, police, emergency management technicians, environmental cleanup contractors, and more. Keep up-to-date on the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition information at

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Upcoming Ethanol Safety Seminars

The RFA, in partnership with several industry entities, will be hosting a series of Ethanol Safety Seminars in 2014 at various locations throughout the United States. This course was developed to give first responders, hazmat teams, fuel transporters, and safety personnel an in-depth look at proper training techniques needed when responding to an ethanol-related emergency. The seminars are FREE to attend. The upcoming cities for 2014 Ethanol Safety Seminars are detailed below. To register, go to

• Nashville, Tenn.               

• Knoxville, Tenn.               

• Oklahoma City, Okla.     

• Tulsa, Okla.                        

• St. Louis, Mo.                    

• Joplin, Mo.                         

• Kansas City, Mo.              

• Salina, Kan.                        

• Wichita, Kan.                     

• Tuscaloosa, Ala.               

• Prattville, Ala.                   

• Boston, Mass.                  

The RFA started the Ethanol Safety Seminars in December 2010. View a list of previous seminars since 2010.

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Map of All Ethanol Safety Seminars

View a map of all Ethanol Safety Seminar Locations in a full screen map.

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Ethanol Training Tour

TRANSCAER: To continue ethanol safety education and to prepare for an ethanol related emergency should one occur, the RFA is partnering with TRANSCAER® in 2013 and 2014 to host an Ethanol Training Tour from border to border and ocean to ocean! TRANSCAER® is a voluntary national outreach effort that focuses on assisting communities to prepare for and respond to possible hazardous material transportation incidents. TRANSCAER® members may consist of volunteer representatives from the chemical manufacturing, transportation, distribution, hazardous material storage and handling, emergency response and preparedness, and related service industries as well as the government. The RFA joined TRANSCAER® in 2008 as part of a strategic plan to expand our reach into the safety community and build influential partnerships promoting safety information across the nation. Through this partnership, the importance of ethanol safety and incident preparedness will have the ability to reach a greater number of emergency responders, public safety agencies, and HAZMAT teams. The 2013-2014 TRANSCAER Ethanol Training Tour hopes to reach nearly 40,000 emergency responders in all 50 states with the best emergency response information available on ethanol and ethanol blended fuels. For more information see

Ethanol Training Tour Poster

Ethanol Training Tour Poster

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Safety Seminar Articles

TRANSCAER® Today Magazine - Winter 2014

FRA Recognizes TRANSCAER® Training with New $75K Grant

Ethanol Safety Seminars Could be Coming to a State Near You

NEW Posters and Brochures Available on How to Properly Close a Tank Car Manway

Ethanol Training Tour Poster


TRANSCAER® Today Magazine - Summer 2013

TRANSCAER® Names National Award Recipients

TRANSCAER® and the Renewable Fuels Association Promote Ethanol Training Across the US

RFA’s Commitment to Emergency Response Training

RFA and TRANSCAER® 2013/2014 Ethanol Training Tour

2013 FRA Grant Awarded to TRANSCAER®/RFA

Mark Your Calendar

Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway Hosts TRANSCAER® Ethanol Tour in Akron & Canton


TRANSCAER® Today Magazine - Winter 2013

FRA Awards TRANSCAER® Funding for 2013 HazMat Training

Ethanol Training Tour Poster

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Additional Resources & Information

The Guidelines for Hinged and Bolted Manway Assembly document provides industry personnel with procedures and standards for the inspection, maintenance, and securement of a hinged and bolted manway to ensure leak-free performance. The renewable fuels industry is always looking to reduce the number of product releases as a result of failures in the assembly of manway bolted joints and threaded connections on tank cars.

A poster and brochure, How to Properly Close a Tank Car Manway, are available that condense the information in the Guidelines. The poster and brochure highlight the inspection, gasket selection, star pattern for closing, and the proper tools and torque needed to ensure the manway is closed in a tight, secure manner.

As a follow-up to the Guidelines for Hinged and Bolted Manway Assembly, poster, and How to Properly Close a Tank Car Manway brochure – all of which focus on ethanol – the RFA has produced a similar document focusing flammable liquids. RFA created the Guidelines for Hinged and Bolted Manway Assembly – Flammable Liquids, flammable liquids poster and brochure.

The Fuel Ethanol: Guideline for Release Prevention & Impact Mitigation is a discussion of the best practices for preventing releases of fuel ethanol into the environment, the likely impacts if a release should occur, and mitigation techniques to address a release. Millions of shipments of ethanol travel safe and without incident every day throughout the U.S.; however, in the unlikely event of an ethanol release, RFA has developed this guide for emergency responders realizing that quick action can minimize the impact to the environment.

RFA Best Practices for Rail Transport of Fuel Ethanol

RFA Safety Bulletin for Ethanol Placarding on Railcars

The RFA has put together a resource document that highlights ethanol related rail statistics, railcar fleet facts, as well as the many resources the RFA provides, like those mentioned above, for the safe transportation of ethanol and the efforts to educate emergency responders to be prepared in the event of an ethanol emergency.

RFA Safety Bulletin for E15: Quick Reference Guide for First Responders

Education and Training: The University of Illinois Fire Service Institute offers classes designed to help one prepare for working with the ethanol industry to prevent, plan for, and respond to ethanol emergencies in facilities and transportation.

US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: PHMSA has published an advisory to assist the first response community in identifying ethanol blended fuels. This advisory has important information for both industry and emergency response personnel for responding to ethanol related incidents. 

Bureau of Explosives (BOE): The BOE was founded in 1907 by the railroad industry to serve as a self-policing agency to promote the safe transportation of explosives and other hazardous materials. Visit BOE's website for more information.

The RFA Plant & Employee Safety Committee is developing recommendations that will assist ethanol plants in meeting Process Safety Management Standards (PSMS). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the proper training of plant personnel in the safety procedures of an ethanol plant.

The RFA recommends ethanol plants put a strong company emphasis on plant and employee safety.  

Process Safety Management Standards

Recommendations to help reduce the number of O-Ring related NARs in Fuel Ethanol transportation by rail (PDF file)
Carolina Seal, Inc., McKenzie Valve & Machining Co., and the RFA 

Do's and Don'ts of General Service Tank Car Handling (PDF file)

American Association of Railroads (AAR) Safe Loading and Unloading Tank Car Methods (PDF file)

Ethanol Tank Car Loading Checklist (PDF file)

Safety Requirement Pursuant to OSHA

Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Hazardous Materials Safety Training Information
Includes DOT Standards, Enforcement, Emergency Response Guidebook, Registering as a HAZMAT Shipper, Spill Response, Training Information, etc. 

DOT Hazardous Materials Transportation (HMT) Security
Includes HAZMAT Transportation Security Awareness Training material

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