VIA Rail invests in emergency response system

When travelers think of accidents, air and auto incidents are usually the first sort of mishaps that come to mind. But as the events of the past few years have shown, the good old train offers its share of potential danger as well. Often, the real danger occurs after the crash, when passengers can be trapped and are difficult to locate and rescue.

VIA Rail Canada has answered safety concerns with an impressive new program that ensures a quick and effective response in the event of an accident. The railway is underwriting the Canadian implementation of new emergency response software from “Operation Respond”. The software is designed to provide potentially life-saving information to first responders to a rail incident, long before they reach the accident site.

Operation Respond is a communications system with tremendous lifesaving potential. It connects operators to the databases of railroad and motor carriers, allowing emergency personnel to quickly and accurately identify the presence of any hazardous materials. The system also contains detailed diagram schematics for passenger train cars and locomotives. Rescuers instantly have access to interior and exterior views, seat nfigurations, emergency exit doors and windows, and the location of electrical and fuel sources. The result is a saving in precious time after an accident, and, ultimately, saved lives in a critical situation.

Train accidents are still very rare, especially in Canada. However, it’s reassuring to know that in the event of a crash, rescuers will know exactly what they’re dealing with, in the minimum amount of time.