I saw the following on your website in the HazMat Close Call Section::
WITHOUT WARNING-AN AMTRAK TRAIN WHIZZED BY….
…WHILE WE WERE FOCUSING ON THE EMERGENCY…
…Not That Train!!
In addition to dealing with the Hazmat situation at hand and establishing a Safety Sector, I just have a few quick comments on dealing with railroads during emergencies.
When dealing with any incident on or near railroad tracks Fire Departments
must (for the safety of their personnel):
1. Assume all tracks are active and expect train movement on any track, at
any time, in any direction. Never rely on your local train schedule.
2. Notify the railroad and give the dispatcher the following information:
a. The nature of the incident
b. The exact location (Milepost/Mile Marker information, Catenary Pole
numbers, Signal numbers, Grade Crossing Signs, Overhead Bridges,
Underpasses, and Land marks)
c. The name of the Incident Commander
NOTE- Train Dispatchers can be responsible for hundreds of miles of
Right-of-Way in several states. Exact location information will allow them
to quickly notify any train crews in the area of your presence.
2. Prior to operating on or within 15′ of the tracks notify and request the
following from the host railroad (the railroad that owns/operates the
tracks), all train movement stopped on the affected track(s), if the trains
are powered by AC catenary or DC 3rd rail power, request that power be
removed on the affected track(s).
3. WAIT FOR CONFIRMATION THAT EVERYTHING IN #2 HAS BEEN COMPLIED WITH PRIOR
TO OPERATING ON OR WITHIN 15′ OF THE TRACKS. In some areas, it may take a
little while to receive this confirmation.
4. NEVER PUT APPARATUS WITHIN 15′ OF THE TRACKS UNLESS YOU HAVE CONFIRMATION
THAT EVERYTHING IN #2 IS COMPLIED WITH.
5. Prior to the arrival of railroad personnel, establish flagging
protection prior to committing any personnel or equipment on the tracks.
This is done by stationing fire department personnel, ( in teams of 2) in
turnout gear, 2 miles in each direction of the incident, with radios,
handlights and flares (use caution if the incident involves hazardous
materials) and do the following:
a. Stand at least 15 feet away from the nearest track
b. Wave a lighted flare (if it is safe to do so), or a handlight,
horizontally from side to side, in front of them at hip level at an
approaching train. This will signal the engineer to stop the train (Keep in
mind it may take a train a great distance to stop).
c. NEVER USE FIRE APPARATUS OR ANY OTHER EMERGENCY VEHICLE TO PROTECT
EMERGENCY SCENE OPERATIONS BY BLOCKING TRACKS.
Just like you preplan buildings in your response area, every fire department
should have a preplan and know how to handle railroad emergency that occur
within their response area (whether they are passenger or freight
railroads). They need to have a good working relationship with the
railroads and maintain updated emergency contact numbers, they need to train
with the railroads and be familiar with the railroad Right-of Way in their
Railroads offer training courses to emergency response agencies that cover
their Right of Way.
Training is available from Amtrak for emergency response agencies that may
respond to incidents involving Amtrak equipment, facilities or Right of Way.
This training is customized for the individual jurisdiction of the
Agencies requesting this training from Amtrak can contact the Office of
Emergency Preparedness 202-906-3889 or E-mail Amtrak Fire Safety at
Gary P. Hearn