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Posner Foundation benefits OLI safety programs

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Henry Posner III

A substantial donation to Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) from the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh, Pa., will go a long way toward assisting the non-for-profit organization with its railroad public safety initiatives.

Henry Posner III, Chairman of the Iowa Interstate Railroad and Railroad Development Corp. and a Posner Foundation trustee, said the Foundation was proud to support the work of OLI in its traditional goals of reducing fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad rights-of-way, and in the emerging field of suicide prevention.

Railroad Development Corp. has supported OLI over the years, ranging from Iowa Interstate employees’ service as community outreach volunteers, to Estonian Railways’ support of Operation Lifesaver Estonia.

The funds will support several projects.

OLI will work with outside experts to understand, and appropriately communicate, suicide prevention initiatives. The goal is to effectively communicate about the sensitive subject with the public, partners and the media. The nonprofit will leverage the Federal Railroad Administration’s Trespass and Suicide Dashboard to target locations throughout the U.S. and tailor prevention messages to those communities.

The grant also funds the distribution of a public service announcement (PSA) about Emergency Notification System signs. The campaign will alert Americans to the existence of the newer, blue and white signs posted at railroad crossings. They’re designed to help those experiencing emergencies at railroad crossings. The signs offer a phone number to call to reach railroad dispatchers, as well as location information, so approaching trains may be stopped. The PSA will be digitally distributed to news outlets throughout the country.

Other projects supported by the gift include additional resources for a competitive grant program that funds public education activities conducted by Operation Lifesaver State Programs and a new program to further support rail safety volunteer efforts throughout the U.S.

“Our goal is to get to zero incidents at railroad crossings and along railroad tracks—zero fatalities and zero injuries,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “The driving force for this organization is saving lives and reducing preventable crossing and trespass incidents. This generous gift will make a tremendous impact on our ability to share our valuable safety messages. OLI is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives by empowering the public to make safer choices near tracks and trains.”

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