Home>Topics>>Railroad Emergencies I

Railroad Emergencies I

Mon, 13 Apr 2009|

Supplement to the class FDIC 2009 "Railroad Emergencies" by Battalion Chief Jeff Simpson, Hanover (VA) Fire & EMS.

+

Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Railroad transportation has a long and proud history of this country and as a critical element of the American because. Every day free -- -- different types of cargo all over the United States. The same time commuter railroads and Amtrak transport many thousands of passengers to work and other destinations. Railroad operations are inherently safe that would train wrecks do occur. We can have a devastating impact on people's businesses and the environment. That is why it's so important for emergency responders to plan ahead. To be prepared in case of -- train accident. This video is intended to help emergency responders like you fire departments police departments and other rescue personnel. To plan -- -- -- -- will be prepared to rescue real road crew members safely and efficiently during an emergency situation. They advance planning will also help to minimize the adverse effects of the -- on the environment and those who live and work along rail lines. This video will help you to understand how the railroad transportation system -- assess your coverage area for special risks. Approach an accident site and enter -- locomotive after an accident at extricate the crew. And provide you with special instructions about dealing with accidents that occur on bridges and in tunnels. The first and most important goal for rescuers is always to protect human life. We'll show you how best to protect yourselves -- you -- the accident scene. And we'll demonstrate the most effective techniques for extricating train crew members from the site. Protecting the environment and minimizing loss of cargo are two other very important concerns however this video focuses only. Unlike safety. Let's take a look at an actual freight train accident that occurred near Clarkston Michigan in 2001. Two locomotives collided head on all crew members of one train were killed upon him. And that locomotive which had derailed and caught fire. The second train also derailed and landed on its side. Two crew members were inside both with broken legs rescuers tried to enter through the front windshield. It was too sick and -- in such a way -- to prevent their actions locomotives doors for other -- were too small to accommodate a stretcher. So the rescue team approach to side window. Now on top of the toppled locomotive. After removing the window rescuers assembled a series of pulleys and levers and lowered men and harnisch is into the locomotive -- Once inside the rescuers were able to put the injured men each weighing more than 250 pounds on half that devices. Did -- -- to these devices and hoisted the injured crew members through the window. Do these crew members were lucky because the emergency team arrived on the scene with equipment that -- in a successful rescue. However when asked what additional information would have helped them that day the rescuers were quick to note that they wished they had known more about railroads and trains. Prior to the actual. One goal of this video is to provide you with that information so that if you're faced with a situation like this one. You'll be prepared. Before we discussed the train itself. Let's get no real root of offerings. Tracks belonging to every -- -- are divided into territories each of which is under the jurisdiction of the dispatcher. Who manages that territory from a dispatching center. This -- is responsible for authorizing a controlling train movement in new server territory. On single track lines it's the dispatcher who arranges for one trained to overtake and pass another -- traveling in the same direction. 442 trains traveling in opposite directions to meet and pass one another. Signal systems are automated systems that have been developed to safeguard and expedite train movement from. These systems comprised of lights much like highway traffic signals informed train engineers when it's safe to proceed any given track. And when they must stuff. Areas -- tracks -- have no signal systems are known as dark territory. In dark territory verbal communication with the dispatcher he's the engineers only means of determining if it is safe to proceed it. The first step in planning ahead is becoming familiar with the terrain in your area. Your department should possess a you should also become familiar with major and secondary access routes especially those that lead to remote -- hard to reach spots along the railroad right of way. The real roadmap also referred to as -- track charts and other pertinent information can be obtained from local railroad officials. You should know the locations and weight and height limits of -- -- bridges and tunnels. These could pose special challenges for rescue team. Planning ahead also includes identifying all water source -- As well as potential landing spots for emergency helicopters. It's extremely helpful for you know as much as possible about the real road and the trains the travel through your area. In emergency phone numbers from the railroad and then -- those numbers in both you're dispatching center and in your vehicles. Learn about the trains the travels through your area so you'll know how many to expect each day. Obtain their schedules of possible understanding their freight trains do not typically run on fixed schedules. Also find out what hazardous materials are typically transported through your jurisdiction. It's important to understand the nature of the cargo -- transported. Especially if that cargo includes hazardous materials or Hazmat. In the case of Hazmat you'll need to determine whether special cleanup materials should be on hand -- There's no Hazmat unit within your department. Identified the nearest unit with expertise in handling such materials. Close the phone number of that unit along with the others on your emergency phone last. It's also important to plan for worst case scenarios. Each department should develop a plan and run practice drills that address what could happen in a worst case situation. These drills can be conducted annually with other emergency operation drills -- -- -- community conducts. Practice is especially important if your department has urban areas where people need to be -- you have. Large amounts of hazardous cargo -- -- through your area. Trains that travel through tunnels or. Trains that cross bridges. It's important -- you know blood train speeds and stopping distance X freight trains -- more weight than passenger -- It takes a longer time and a greater distance for them to stop. For example a 100 car freight train traveling at fifty miles per hour can shake up to one mile to come to a complete stop. Up to two miles of its on a great. And contrast and automobile traveling at fifty miles per hour but stop within 105 feet. Because it takes so long for train to stop we should learn about the speeds and weights of trains in your area including the weight of the cargo. This information will be particularly important if you must act as a flag or to stop oncoming trains at either end of an action. -- travels a specified distance. Depending on the speed of oncoming -- in each direction from the accident with at least 330 minute highway flares. The -- you're like the first clear immediately after hearing or seeing an oncoming train. Came in waves of -- back and forth in front of him at a right angle to the track as a signal for the engineer to stop the train. In the use flags -- flashlights instead of flares however. Whether darkness and other conditions can hinder the engineers ability to see signals other than flares. Which -- -- employees recognize as a universal warning signal. Before approaching train wreck it's helpful to understand certain characteristics of look. Promoters which weigh between 130. And 175. Times. Both diesel and electric locomotives are constructive deal which can be up to 38 of an inch stick. -- -- -- part of the locomotive skin is the roof which is 18 inch steel. On some passenger trains the locomotive roof is made of a fiberglass compound. Interior holdings are made of plastic. Freight locomotives have two doors one in the nose and one in the rear. Passenger locomotives usually have one door on each side of the locomotive -- and one on each side towards the rear of the locomotive. In some cases there's another door in the rear before in the front of the locomotive. These doors especially the one in the -- are typically quite narrow and do not offer convenient egress and even -- the next time especially. If backwards or other large piece of rescue equipment are deployed. For the doors are not accessible side windows provide the best means of entering and exiting the locomotive. The locomotives side windows while also fairly sick are usually single or -- sliders that are bolted on. They're relatively easy to remove and wide enough for access and egress and even for back -- Locomotive windshields are made -- half inch -- laminated glass. Which is held in place by clamping plate inside the -- for these reasons windshields are not easy to shatter or removed. Freight locomotives usually carry between 5006000. Gallons of diesel fuel into tanks located -- -- -- under -- Residing just above the tracks between the front and rear truck assemblies. Passenger locomotives typically carry between the 1812200. Gallons of diesel fuel in tanks located inside the locomotive body. Or in under buddy tanks and the diesel engine located behind the -- employs either AC or DC electrical power for traction efforts. There's one ready emergency stop button inside the cap. Located of the fire -- directly behind the engineer's seat they can shut down the diesel engine in addition. There are two such red device is located on either side of the locomotive just above the fuel tank. -- pushing in and holding the device for about ten seconds will cause the diesel engines to shut down within a minute. Electric motors either AC -- DC are mounted on each axle assembly of the -- Diesel electric locomotives provide high voltage electrical power. No one other than a crew members should ever attempted disconnect and electrical cable. Or go between or under cars from the exterior of the train until this system has been. Electric locomotives do not have fuel tanks. They derive all their power for the -- -- -- -- the locomotive roof which makes contact with the overhead culinary system. The overhead wires are energized at between 121025000. Volts DC. And the top of the locomotive is energized as well. Between each car of the train including the locomotive there are -- -- that power the train's braking system. If it's necessary to separate -- these air hoses must be released. A railroad employees should handle this task. If no railroad personnel are available you'll need to pull up on the lever located at the ends of each car to release the -- And turn the angle cock to the right to turn off the -- He'll then be able to separate the cars yeah. Under no circumstances should you attempt to disconnect an air -- these hoses are pressurized at up to 140 PS -- air pressure. And if unrestricted can cause serious injury or death. There are several critical steps to take when you're notified of a railroad accident. First pinpoint the location of the accident using landmarks and -- mile post markers. Pass this information on immediately to will root authorities. Obtain as much information as possible from the person reporting the accident and from the involves railroad. Find out how many crew members are on board there are typically either to sorcery. Ask it's a cargo includes any hazardous materials and if so where they're located. Ask for the contents of the train manifesto a document that contains a description of the train's cargo -- -- personnel with flares to stand guard on either side of the accident scene and flag oncoming trains. This is especially important -- he accident -- in -- dark territory where there are no signals. Depending on the speed trains in your area the fighters may need to go as far as to miles out in both directions from the incident site in order to stop the trains effectively. It's their experience real -- personnel available. They should arrange to stop all train movements. Before emergency responders -- the railroad right of way. Federal law gives trains the right of way -- highway rail grade crossings over every motor vehicle this includes emergency vehicles responding to a call. When traveling to an accident. Under no circumstances should you ever attempt to be a train at a crossing. When approaching the site of a railroad accident remember that -- -- safety. And that of other emergency responders is Paramount. Before entering the site you rescue team should use emergency -- monitoring equipment to determine their purity. And should then follow local air monitoring procedures to avoid exposure to has -- particles and blood borne pathogens. Be on the lookout for hazardous conditions such as surface is made slippery by ice water or diesel fuel. Because the -- could be slippery. Always stepped over and not on them. Remember to always expect to train on any track in any direction at any time. Be on the -- is special financial players are in position -- the railroad is able to contact approaching trains. Stay clear of downed power lines and watch for sharper -- and damaged cars equipment and cargo. Be on the alert for shifting weight especially when moving among the wreckage and proceed with caution -- walking on uneven surfaces. Hot surfaces represent another danger as the mid nineties so you know the risk of this is high along the roof were exhaust -- tend to accumulate -- There are also other places were fuel leaks are likely to occur. For example there events -- the fuel tanks through which fuel to leak if the train his toppled over. To -- the -- of diesel -- a class two combustible. Read actually -- film forming phone often called eight triple left or -- sealed over them as a blanket. Note however that the -- can make underlying surface is more slippery. More than one application may be required it's -- foam blanket is compromised. Before entering the locomotive ensure that it is stable. Especially if -- or any of the cars -- on an embankment. He -- abilities in question do not enter the locomotive. Because the locomotive is extremely heavy and it's unlikely that it will move after sliding to a stuff. However other cars in the wreckage they could fall on the locomotive could pose a problem. Into the locomotive only when you're confident this feeds and surrounding cars are stable. Under no circumstances should you climb onto the roof of a burning locomotive. Especially ones with fiber glass tops which could melt from the heat of the fire. Likewise never climb on top of an electric locomotive. Four on top of any railroad equipment under Kevin bury wires without a qualified real -- employees on site. Do not -- personnel or aluminum letters come within a -- any segment of the -- system. Which includes the guy wires attached to buildings or other structures.