Railinc Updates AskRail® First Responder AppWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Railinc on Jan. 18 reported that it has added railroad milepost and highway/rail grade crossing location information to AskRail®, the rail industry emergency response information app.
Launched in 2014, AskRail is a collaborative effort among the emergency response community and all seven Class I railroads (BNSF, Canadian Pacific, CN, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific). It provides more than 35,000 first responders—from all 50 states and eight Canadian provinces—“with immediate access to accurate, timely data about what type of hazardous materials a railcar is carrying so they can make informed decisions on how to best respond to a rail incident,” according to Railinc, the app developer and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
The addition of specific coordinates for railroad milepost and grade crossing locations was requested by first responders participating in meetings with the railroads and Railinc. “With this information, emergency response crews can immediately determine where to set up parameters for an isolation zone around the incident site, and to assess if alerts or evacuation orders should be issued to any affected communities,” Railinc reported. Available in English and French in the United States, Canada and Mexico, the app also includes mapping, among other features, to provide isolation zone and points of interest (street or satellite view).
“These new features will provide first responders with the specific data they have requested as part of our ongoing dialogue with these key safety stakeholders,” Railinc President Allen West said. “Railinc has supported AskRail since its inception in 2014. I am proud of the efficient and enthusiastic work by the Railinc development team that leveraged our comprehensive North America railroad database for the benefit of industry employees, users and the communities they serve.”
Only qualified emergency responders who have completed rail emergency training sponsored by one of the Class I’s or at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) can download for free and use the restricted features in the AskRail app. Railroads can also offer the app to known emergency responders along their routes.