Operating Lifesaver Pushing Safety Awareness with Grants

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. and the Federal Railroad Administration announced $217,000 in grants will be awarded to 15 state Operation Lifesaver programs to fund rail crossing safety and trespass prevention public education projects in conjunction with OLI's U.S. Rail Safety Week this fall.

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. and the Federal Railroad Administration recently announced $217,000 in grants will be awarded to 15 state Operation Lifesaver programs to fund rail crossing safety and trespass prevention public education projects in conjunction with OLI's U.S. Rail Safety Week, taking place Sept. 24-30, 2017. Funded by FRA, the grants will be awarded to Operation Lifesaver organizations in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin, with grant awards ranging from $4,700 to $20,000.

"These grants will support strategic rail safety efforts in 15 of Operation Lifesaver's state programs as part of our nationwide mission to eliminate collisions, injuries, and deaths at crossings and along rail property," said Bonnie Murphy, OLI's president and CEO. "Thanks to our ongoing partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration, we are able to bring these lifesaving programs and educational materials to critical audiences across the country during U.S. Rail Safety Week."

The grant projects include an Arkansas awareness campaign in high-incident counties, including geographically-targeted mobile ads (geo-fencing) and video public service announcements at major universities from mid-August through mid-October; California's geo-fencing trespass prevention digital campaign with "See Tracks? Think Train!" ads at sports venues, auditoriums, hotels, and homeless shelters located near railroad tracks in 13 high-incident counties; Idaho's movie theater crossing safety PSA campaign throughout the state during September; an ad campaign in northeast Illinois, where most of that state's incidents occur, using banners on the outside of Metra commuter trains and safety messages on electronic signs in busy passenger stations and along roads; Michigan's billboard ads in Detroit and Wayne County; Mississippi's interactive trespass prevention and crossing safety campaign focused on the Gulf Coast; and South Carolina's fan education campaign with University of South Carolina in Columbia. Similarly, Tennessee Operation Lifesaver's campaign is focused around college football games in Knoxville and Memphis during Rail Safety Week. Texas Operation Lifesaver will celebrate its 40th anniversary in July and Rail Safety Week in September with increased presentations by volunteers, a resolution by the Texas Legislature designating July as Texas Operation Lifesaver Rail Safety Awareness Month, and a geo-targeting digital ad campaign sharing trespass PSAs and safety tips on mobile devices for Rail Safety Week.

Amtrak, which experienced delayed trains north of Washington, D.C., on June 28 after two people were struck and killed on tracks that morning, this month pledged to raise awareness about safety in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities on railroad crossings and tracks as the summer season gets under way. Vehicle-train collisions at highway-rail grade crossings fell 2.4 percent in 2016, according to FRA, but the number of people killed in these incidents rose 13.7 percent last year and deaths due to train track trespassing increased 12.8 percent, according to Amtrak, which is a partner with Operation Lifesaver, Inc.

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