Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), announced April 6 that it will award a $50,000 Innovative Rail Safety Competitive Grant to New York Operation Lifesaver (New York OLI) to fund “a targeted multifaceted education and outreach campaign to schools, school bus drivers, community groups, law enforcement agencies and other first responders to facilitate increased free rail safety presentations.”
The grant, according to OLI, which is part of the $230,925 announced to OLI programs in 12 states on March 30, was awarded through a competitive process based on criteria, including a “demonstrated safety need, concept creativity and the ability to scale projects.”
“Since 2020, OLI has worked with the FRA to award $210,000 in Innovative Rail Safety Grants,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “This educational grant allows one OL state program to push the envelope in getting the rail safety message out. This innovative New York OL campaign will use social media ads, direct mail outreach and personal follow up to increase the number of free, lifesaving safety presentations delivered in school districts within the state. We are grateful for FRA’s continued partnership on this grant to make communities safer.”
“This campaign will feature a mixture of sophisticated ad techniques, creative use of technology and personal outreach,” said New York OLI State Coordinator Phil Merens, who noted that the project includes social media advertising during Rail Safety Week, which this year will be held September 18-24 throughout North America.
“A targeted online campaign highlighting the need for rail safety education will begin during the summer. Soon after, educators, first responders, community groups and others will receive video greeting cards by mail, which will play a video sharing Operation Lifesaver’s history and our ability to provide free safety information to any audience. Everyone receiving the video greeting cards will be contacted to schedule a rail safety presentation,” said Merens.
“Our partnership with OLI, including this Innovative Rail Safety Grant, underscores our agency’s highest priority: safety,” added James Payne, Staff Director of the FRA Grade Crossing and Trespasser Outreach Division. “FRA is pleased to continue supporting imaginative grant projects like these.”