(INDIANAPOLIS) - Every year, 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured when they engage in unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. Indiana Operation Lifesaver is joining Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF) from September 20-26 to observe Rail Safety Week in North America and urging the public to help #STOPTrackTragedies. Governor Eric Holcomb signed a proclamation declaring the observance of Rail Safety Week in Indiana as well.
“Across the United States and throughout Indiana, Operation Lifesaver will share rail safety messages each day during Rail Safety Week underscoring our core mission – to save lives,” said Jessica Feder, Executive Director of Indiana Operation Lifesaver. “We are grateful to our safety partners at the U.S. Department of Transportation, INDOT and in the first responder community as well as the many other organizations who share the rail safety message this week, but more importantly each and every day.”
“Rail Safety Week activities in Indiana will emphasize community education events along with virtual activities and social media to share our lifesaving messages,” said Jessica Feder. “We are kicking off the week today with state and local Rail Safety Week proclamations. Through rail safety education during Rail Safety Week and every day, we are empowering Indiana residents to make safe choices around railroad trains and tracks.”
In Indiana each year, we average approximately 120 railroad crossing collisions with multiple injuries and deaths. Rail related trespasser injuries and fatalities are also on the rise throughout the state. Operation Lifesaver works to prevent these needless incidents from happening.
As part of Rail Safety week, new video and audio public service announcements (PSAs) as well as social media campaigns are being released. An ongoing campaign called #STOPTrackTragedies features videos with the personal stories of people directly affected by rail crossing or trespassing incidents — including victims, friends and family members, locomotive engineers, and first responders. The full campaign can be viewed at oli.org/stop-track-tragedies.
In Indiana and across the U.S., along with the PSAs and a social media campaign, the following themes will be emphasized:
· Monday, September 20 kicks off the week with the overarching theme of #STOPTrackTragedies and a focus on Media Outreach and Rail Safety Week Proclamations in states and localities.
· Tuesday, September 21 focuses on the fifth annual observance of Operation Clear Track in the U.S. and Canada emphasizing the importance of obeying crossing safety and anti-trespass laws. Law enforcement partners will conduct awareness exercises, Officer on the Train activities and other in person positive enforcement events; first responders will share RSW messages virtually through social media, email messaging and website posts.
· Wednesday, September 22 highlights Crossing Safety, with outreach to the general public, farmers and farm machine operators as well as outdoor enthusiasts on safe crossing techniques with special attention to the Blue and White Emergency Notification System (ENS) signs at crossings.
· Thursday, September 23, Transit Safety Thursday and Professional Driver Safety, showcases how to stay safe as a rail commuter or transit rider as well as safe choices around railroad tracks and trains for professional drivers.
· Friday, September 24 focuses on Wearing Red or “Red Out” for Rail Safety by encouraging safety organizations, partners, schools, railroads and the general public to wear red at public events and to share photos on social media.
· Saturday, September 25 highlights Trespass Prevention, educating pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and outdoor enthusiasts about the dangers posed by being on or near the tracks.
· Sunday, September 26 promotes No Photo, Video or Selfie is Worth the Risk, to warn professional and amateur photographers against putting themselves or others in danger by illegally taking photos, videos, or filming near tracks and trains. Visitors to oli.org will be asked to join the virtual Rail Safety Week effort by sharing the Stop Track Tragedies videos and social media messaging using the hashtags #STOPTrackTragedies and #railsafetyweek.