With operations across 49 states, America’s freight railroads honor their responsibility to the communities they serve.

This commitment is best demonstrated by their emphasis on preparedness, informed by their long history and resilient culture that prioritizes safety above all else.

While rare, railroads work doggedly to prepare communities in the event of a rail accident and support them during and throughout the situation. From first responder hazmat response training at the rail industry’s world-class training facility to the AskRail mobile application developed in collaboration with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, railroads prioritize community preparedness and transparent communication. All major railroads have emergency response teams that are on call 24/7 to provide local officials with access to information and other resources — from response equipment staged throughout the network to clothing for displaced families. Finally, railroads’ environmental consultants and contractors work closely with state environmental agencies to remediate any damage following an incident.

Preparedness also extends to ensuring the integrity and resiliency of the rail network which moves critical goods essential to the lives of all Americans. Natural disasters, physical and cybersecurity threats and even pandemics have the potential to disrupt railroad operations and hamper federal and state response and recovery efforts. To ensure continued operations, railroads rely on comprehensive response plans developed and informed by relevant experts and past experiences like 9/11 and H1N1. Information sharing between railroads and with key government and security stakeholders including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency allows for early detection and mitigation of threats. Railroads also rely on technology advancements to monitor the network against physical, cyber and natural disaster threats.

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