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Rail Safety Training for Law Enforcement: Research Results
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  • Alternative Title:
    Research Results: Rail Safety Training for Law Enforcement
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    Research Results
  • Abstract:
    The Rail Safety Training Course for Law Enforcement project builds upon QinetiQ North America’s (QNA) previous experience in developing first responder training. Specifically, in 2015, QNA developed a video sponsored by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Research, Development and Technology titled Locomotive Emergency Response Training (LERT). This 30-minute video educates emergency responders with basic information regarding freight rail operations and locomotives so that they know how to safely deal with emergency situations. During the development of LERT, first responders and high-level emergency officials sent comments detailing the need to educate emergency dispatchers on handling rail emergencies. Emergency dispatchers are the “frontline officers” who interface directly between the railroads and responding emergency units. They ascertain the type and level of response required, identify response location, and perhaps most importantly, communicate with the railroads on behalf of the first responders. Given the hectic and turbulent nature of emergencies, there is a plethora of opportunities for errors to occur, especially since most emergency dispatchers have no familiarity with rail operations or terminology. For example, QNA discovered that many emergency personnel do not know that parallel rail tracks can be owned or operated by multiple railroads. In this scenario, an emergency dispatcher would need to know that he or she must inform all the relevant railroads to ensure proper track shutdown. As such, proper training and familiarization with railroads is essential to equip emergency dispatchers with the tools and knowledge required to respond to a locomotive accident effectively and safely.

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