Norfolk Southern (NS) on Sept. 20 reported partnering with RapidSOS to help “make it quicker and easier” for first responders to access cargo and hazardous materials information and enable the ability to call for mutual aid, all while providing ongoing training.
The RapidSOS platform securely links more than 500 million devices, apps and sensors to more than 15,000 911 and field responder agencies, according to NS. The partnership, the Class I said, will leverage that network to help provide critical information and capabilities to first responders, including:
- Train cargo contents with details by railcar.
- Hazardous materials information and emergency response standards and best practices.
- Ability to digitally escalate for mutual aid to surrounding agencies.
- Online learning, support and training at no cost to first responders.
Prior to the partnership, emergency dispatchers had to manually search online databases and verbally relay critical information to field responders, NS reported.
“When a rail incident occurs, seconds count,” NS Vice President Safety John Fleps said. “Through our partnership with RapidSOS, 911 call centers and first responder agencies throughout our 22-state network will have faster access to the information they need to safeguard their response, save lives and protect the communities in which we operate.”
“Our partnership with Norfolk Southern will provide first responder agencies with advanced situational awareness to best respond in the event of a train emergency,” RapidSOS Chief Operating Officer Jose Mejia said.
The enhanced data from NS is slated to be available to 911 centers and field responders nationwide in early 2024.
In a related development, the Association of American Railroads on Sept. 18 reported working with NS to integrate AskRail into the dispatching services of the Columbiana County, Ohio, and Beaver County, Pa., emergency management agencies (EMA).