What if you witnessed a train derailment?
Would you leave a safe location to gawk? Would you rush to help potential victims? Would you get closer to the accident site and snap photos or capture the aftermath on video?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might benefit from a lesson in train safety. Luckily, they are offered through the Grove City Town Center.
Andy Furr, executive director of the Grove City Town Center, said anyone living near train tracks should learn railroad safety.
“The fact is that a lot of residents and business owners have no idea what types of cargo runs through our backyard,” Furr said. “We all need to be educated about this because accidents can happen at any time.”
Ron Danks, a track inspector with CSX Railroad and a hazardous materials emergency response specialist, agreed.
“One thing people don’t know about derailments is how often they occur,” Danks said.
Danks estimated derailments on mainlines and in rail yards happen two to three times a day in 22 states east of the Mississippi.
“I don’t know why these don’t make the news more,” he said, “but it happens more than you would think.”
Adding to the danger is some trains carry hazardous materials.
“The train industry is not required to tell a city what is going through their backyard,” said Danks. “It’s not a secret by any means because placards are on all railcars, but you won’t know what they’re carrying if you can’t understand the placards.”
Danks helps residents navigate the world of railways by offering free classes at the Town Center.
Participants learn how to act if a train derails, how derailments happen, how to read the Emergency Response Guidebook and understand safety protocols.
“That means no more stopping on the tracks when there is a red light, even if a train is not in sight,” Danks said. “People do that all the time.”
Danks said he wanted to share his knowledge with those who will listen.
For information on this program, call (614) 539-8762.
Classes are slated for Monday or Tuesday evenings.