UNION PACIFIC AND CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL SHOWCASE APP THAT ASSISTS FIRST RESPONDERS
“AskRail” App Provides First Responders Immediate Access to Accurate, Real-time Information on Contents of Rail Cars; Informs Which Cars May Carry Hazardous Material
San Francisco, California, June 20, 2015 – Today at the United States Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Union Pacific Railroad showcased the new rail industry “AskRail” mobile application, which allows first responders to easily access information regarding the contents inside rail cars.
The app, produced by the Association of American Railroads (AAR), is available at no charge for all first responders across the country. Once first responders have the AskRail app on their phones, they simply enter a rail car identification number and will be able to access information about the commodity inside that car and other cars on the train, including critical information about hazardous materials and safety protocols for managing them. The AskRail app supplements the existing response process Union Pacific and other railroads use to collaborate and communicate with emergency responders in the event there is a hazardous materials-related incident.
“First responders have said repeatedly that they need real time information about the contents of rail cars passing through their communities because that information gives them the best chance to minimize the damage and danger to the community and themselves. Through this app first responders can now pull up this information right on their mobile phones,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Rail safety requires a comprehensive approach – from investing in our infrastructure to upgrading rail cars to providing emergency response information and equipment. This is a step forward and while more action is needed, this type of transparency, accountability and partnership between the private and the public sectors saves lives.”
“Rail safety requires a comprehensive approach – from investing in our infrastructure to providing emergency response information and equipment. This is a step forward and while more action is needed, this type of transparency, accountability and partnership between the private and the public sectors saves lives,” said Mayor Emanuel.
Chicago has long been the nation’s rail hub, and Mayor Emanuel introduced a resolution to improve responses to rail emergencies at last year’s US Council of Mayors Legislative Meeting. In the months that followed, the Mayor brought rail executives together to drive improvements in technology for rail safety and access to information on the contents of rail cars. Last fall, the AskRail app was launched in Chicago – in partnership with the City of Chicago, Cook County and the State of Illinois prior to today’s showcase of the app.
“Our goal is the same as that of our customers and the communities in which we operate: to deliver every tank car safely, while at the same time being prepared to respond in the case of an incident. Union Pacific follows strict safety practices and in many cases exceeds federal safety regulations. The AskRail app is a valuable tool for first responders and we are pleased to be able to offer this tool to first responders across our network, including Chicago, Cook County and the state,” said Adrian Guerrero, Union Pacific Railroad Director – Public Affairs for Illinois.
Even though railroads deliver hazardous materials safely to their destination 99.997 percent of the time, zero derailments are the goal. In the unlikely event there is an incident, technology and first responder training are keys to protecting our communities.
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