Raising Awareness to Change Dangerous Behavior on Railroad Tracks

Every three hours someone is hit by a train in the United States. On foot or in a vehicle, the result is the same — severe injury or even death.

California ranks number one in trespass casualties (injuries and fatalities). We have the highest number of fatalities in both trespass casualties and grade crossing incidents. While vehicles at train crossings and pedestrians walking on tracks account for 95% of all rail-related deaths, almost all of these deaths are preventable.

California Operation Lifesaver is dedicated to raising rail safety awareness to change dangerous behaviors on or near railroad tracks to save lives.

Don’t become a statistic, ALWAYS practice Rail Safety!
To help you practice rail safety; here are some safety tips:

  • The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a    crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing and can be ticketed or fined. Cross tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
  • It can take a mile or more to stop a train, so a locomotive engineer who suddenly sees someone on the tracks will likely be unable to stop in time. Railroad property is private property. For your safety, it is illegal to be there unless you are at a designated public crossing.
  • Trains overhang the tracks by at least three feet in both directions; loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If you are in the right-of-way next to the tracks, you can be hit by the train.
  • Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes; A second train might be blocked by the first. Trains can come from either direction. Wait until you can see clearly around the first train in both directions.
  • Flashing red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. You can be fined for failure to obey these signals. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing, and DO NOT cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it’s safe to do so.
  • Do not attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time. A slip of the foot can cost you a limb or your life.
  • Be aware trains do not follow set schedules. Any Time is Train Time!

You can help us raise awareness and save lives by sharing our rail safety message and asking your family and friends to always practice rail safety. Ask them to remember; whenever they See Tracks, to ALWAYS think train.

Nancy Sheehan-McCulloch – State Coordinator

About California Operation Lifesaver
California Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. Our network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides the public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks.

Learn More:
Follow CAOL: www.caol.us, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blog
Follow OLI on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram 

revised-stt-logo-us      Save Lives Tell 5 (2)

Help Stop Track Tragedies and save lives: Tell 5 of your family and friends to ALWAYS practice rail safety and ask those 5 to tell 5 and those 5 to tell 5… #SaveLivesTell5

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Rail Safety Week – Operation Clear Track

OLI_RailSafetyWeekLogos6_30_17Evergreen             revised-stt-logo-us

Contact: Nancy Sheehan California Operation Lifesaver, 530-832-0683, nsheehan.caol@sbcglobal.net
Jessica Puchala, Operation Lifesaver, Inc., 703-739-0308, news@oli.org
Kimberly Woods, Amtrak, 202-906-3860, MediaRelations@amtrak.com

Amtrak Police, Operation Lifesaver Mobilize Railroad Safety Operation in California
2nd Annual Law Enforcement Event Marks Rail Safety Week

Sacramento, California (September 25, 2018) – California Operation Lifesaver, the rail safety education organization, is participating in “Operation Clear Track,” the largest railroad safety law enforcement operation to date in the United States, involving more than 460 police or sheriff departments across the lower 48 states. The initiative is spearheaded by Amtrak and the national Operation Lifesaver, Inc. program during Rail Safety Week in the U.S. and Canada.

“No one should think it’s ok, even one time, to ignore grade crossing or trespassing laws on railroad property,” said Amtrak Police Chief Neil Trugman. “This safety detail will deliver that message to thousands of people in-person today to try and stop these tragic rail-related incidents that occur every day in someone’s home town.”

During “Operation Clear Track,” police will report to highway rail grade crossings in cities and counties throughout California where there have been a high number of incidents according to preliminary data by the Federal Railroad Administration. Once onsite, law enforcement officials will enforce California grade crossing and trespassing laws, writing citations and warnings to violators.

“Enforcement, education and engineering are our three best weapons against incidents involving trains,” said California Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Nancy Sheehan. “While we have made strides in reducing deaths and injuries since our inception 46 years ago, the goal of Operation Clear Track and other Rail Safety Week activities is to empower citizens to keep themselves safe near tracks and trains. This year’s Rail Safety Week theme is ‘Stop Track Tragedies,’ and Operation Clear Track is an important part of our efforts.”

In California over the past 5 years, 623 people were killed and 623 were injured in grade crossing and trespassing incidents. California Operation Lifesaver is participating in “Operation Clear Track” and other Rail Safety Week events to reduce these incidents and empower the state’s residents to keep themselves safe near tracks and train.

Rail Safety Week is being observed in the U.S. and Canada from September 23 -29. For more information, visit http://www.oli.org/RSWeek.

About Operation Lifesaver – Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. A national network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides the public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more about Rail Safety Week; follow OLI on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest                                                           Follow CAOL on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Please help us save lives share the message with at least 5 of your family and friends. Ask them to practice rail safety and to tell 5 of their friends and ask those 5 to tell 5 and so on… Help grow the message. #SaveLivesTell5

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California Operation Lifesaver notes reduction in 2017 crossing collisions; pedestrian-train casualties rose from 2016 levels

Preliminary Rail Crossing and Trespass Statistics, 2016 vs. 2017
Source: FRA Office of Safety Analysis

CA Table from 2017 vs 2016 Stats (2)

Sacramento, California March 15, 2018 – Collisions at highway-rail grade crossings in California fell by 1.2 percent in 2017 and rail trespass casualties (deaths plus injuries) rose 18.9 % according to the nonprofit rail safety education organization California Operation Lifesaver (CAOL, http://www.caol.us). CAOL cited preliminary 2017 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics.

“We are gratified, that there was a small reduction in highway-rail grade crossing collisions,” said California Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Nancy Sheehan.               “We are concerned with the increase in Trespasser casualties. More work is needed, and we will continue our efforts giving people across California important information on how to keep themselves, their friends and their families safe near tracks and trains to avoid these preventable tragedies,” said Sheehan.

Nationally, vehicle-train collisions at highway-rail grade crossings rose 3.1 percent in 2017, and the number of people killed in crossing incidents rose 7.4 percent; however, the number of people injured in crossing incidents declined 4.3 percent last year.                Deaths in 2017 from train track trespassing climbed 22.3 percent, and trespass injuries increased 4.6 percent; total trespass-related casualties (deaths plus injuries) increased 13.3 percent from 2016 levels, Sheehan said.

FRA statistics reveal, overall, California crossing collisions were down 1.2% percent in 2017 from 2016, to 166; crossing fatalities fell 15.8 percent to 38; and crossing injuries fell 12.3 percent to 57.

Trespass fatalities increased 33.7 percent in 2017 to 123, and trespass injuries rose 3.4 percent in 2017 to 91.

“In 2018 California Operation Lifesaver will once again participate in California Rail Safety Month in September and U.S. Rail Safety Week, September 23-29,” Sheehan continued. “We look forward to working with existing and new safety partners to raise awareness among California residents of the need to always use caution near crossings and refrain from trespassing on the tracks.” she concluded.

About California Operation Lifesaver
California Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. Our network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides the public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more at www.caol.us, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blog or at http://www.oli.org.

Nancy Sheehan-McCulloch – State Coordinator

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Instagram: california_operation_lifesaver


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2017 A Year of Outreach Rolls Into 2018

2017 was filled with rail safety awareness endeavors across the state. The year teemed with a variety of methods and efforts to educate California communities about avoiding dangerous behaviors near railroad tracks. Our efforts steadfastly demonstrated the importance of making safe decisions around trains and tracks.

The year passed by quickly and California Operation Lifesaver worked year-round to meet our 2017 rail safety goals. Each month brought new opportunities to increase our efforts and participate in ways to reach high risk communities with our rail safety message.

Our amazing team of volunteers dedicated their time and passion to proactively share our rail safety message through presentations and events. As of this update, these outstanding volunteers reached over 110,000 people through their activities. CAOL is grateful to our volunteers for their continuous commitment to cultivating our message to save lives.

California Operation Lifesaver was fortunate to be awarded two special grants. The Operation Lifesaver/Federal Railroad Administration (OLI/FRA) and the Operation Lifesaver (OLI/FHWA) grant.

The OLI/FRA grant was utilized for trespassing and grade crossing campaigns during September Rail Safety month.
The grant campaigns included: September Rail Safety Month kick off events, Rail                 safety messaging at the San Bernardino 66ers, San Diego Padres  Rail Safety Week               outreach, and the Cal Poly University Week of Welcome Rail Safety Outreach.
As a part of this trespass grant our “Digital Ad Campaign” was highly successful and              provided a unique and critical method that allowed us to reach millions of people                  across California. Focused in our highest incident counties, this opportunity                            resulted in dramatic outreach that increased awareness in 13 counties.
The numbers reached as part of the digital campaign:
                    *   Rail Safety Advertising Impressions: 5,763, 187
                    *   No of Persons Clicked Through to Rail Safety Tips: 25,050
                    *   No of Persons who watched Rail Safety PSA in its entirety: 438,368

The OLI/FHWA grant focused on Grade Crossing Safety Awareness during September Rail Safety Month
  As a part of this OL/FHWA grant we participated in the Rail Safety Week Operation              Clear Track. During this campaign CAOL partnered with law enforcement                                statewide to raise rail safety education awareness as railroad PD, CHP, and local                    police performed enforcement exercises.
 –  Participated in rail safety blitz’s, Emergency Notification Sign awareness                                 campaigns, and participated with partners in Pop UP Safety Booth Events
 –  Utilizing the FHWA Grade Crossing Safety Grant funding, CAOL worked with the                 California Broadcasters Association (CBA) on TV advertising to run an Operation                 Lifesaver Grade Crossing PSA campaign. We ran the PSA in 3 Key Television                           Markets located in high rail incident counties.
The numbers Reached Via TV Ad’s in the following markets:
                 *   Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto 1,412,940
                 *   Fresno / Visalia 574,610
                 *   San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose 2,451,640

September Rail Safety Month and Rail Safety Week Partnerships
Our Rail Safety Partners supported our efforts, participated in outreach, lead some key events and invited CAOL to join them in their rail safety campaigns. Our Partners assisted in our efforts to increase rail safety education to save lives. We are grateful for our rail safety partners for their support and commitment to our mission.

Variety of Outreach
*    CAOL Volunteers provided presentations and participated in events statewide
*    Partnered with Departments of Education to create Resolutions to provide annual                 rail safety messaging to the schools in their districts
*    Pep Rally Outreach at schools
*    Working with City Councils, County Supervisors, and City Governments to                             proactively support rail safety efforts in their communities
*    Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeos
*    Participated in Ag Safety events for students and adults
*    Positive Enforcement efforts, Rail Safety Blitzes, and Safety Trains
*    Sports Venues and game outreach with announcements, banners and PSA’s
*    And much more

Current Outreach
California Operation Lifesaver is running a digital ad campaign that began November 1 and will run through January 2, 2018.
As of this week, this campaign has reached over 6 million people across California and our trespass PSA has been viewed in its entirety over 500,000 times. The reach includes high incident areas in Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno Kern, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Ventura Counties.

California Grade Crossing and Trespass Statistics
In March 2017 the FRA released the Statistics for 2016:

FRA 2016 Stats (2)

                                                                                                                                                    California ranks No 1 in Trespass Casualties (includes Casualties and Fatalities)
California ranks No 2 in Grade Crossing Incidents

These statistics demonstrated the continued need for raising rail safety awareness and our rail safety education. In 2017, we worked to promote rail safety awareness via multiple formats.
Rail Safety partnerships are an important and essential way to identify and increase outreach to high incident areas in need of our message. It is through these partnerships and proactive involvement of our partners and our communities that we can create additional ways to educate the public to make good decisions near railroad tracks.

The New Year
As we ring in 2018, we will carry forward all the important rail safety messaging we created and shared in 2017. The New Year offers opportunities to work together to enhance rail safety messaging and through our mutual partnerships we can increase rail safety awareness to save more lives.

California Operation Lifesaver is grateful to our team of volunteers for all they do to share rail safety education. We are thankful to our Rail Safety Partners for their support and dedication that helped us grow our message in 2017.

It remains our goal in 2018 to work together with our partners to change the numbers to make rail safety awareness a priority across California. We look forward to working with our rail safety partners and our volunteer team in the New Year.

Let’s seize the opportunities that 2018 brings to changing the numbers and save lives!
Happy New Year!

Nancy Sheehan-McCulloch – State Coordinator
See Tracks Think Train Logo (2014_10_29 16_18_16 UTC)
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Instagram: california_operation_lifesaver

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California Operation Lifesaver Volunteer Honored for his Dedication to Rail Safety

We are thrilled to honor our dedicated CAOL volunteer Chris Ranford for his passion and dedication for saving lives with rail safety education. Thank you Pacific Surfliner for recognizing Chris’s outreach efforts. We appreciate your partnership. We thank the San Diego Padres for this special opportunity. Please join us in growing rail safety awareness by sharing the See Tracks? ThinkTrain message. September is #RailSafetyMonth in California and #USRailSafetyWeek is coming soon, 9/24 -9/30.

Pacific Surfliner Blog

Minutes before the San Diego Padres faced the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park on September 3, Chris Ranford walked onto the field in his bright red Operation Lifesaver shirt. He never thought his work as a rail safety volunteer would bring him here, but as a life-long baseball fan, he was thrilled to have the honor of throwing the ceremonial first pitch. As his name was announced over the loudspeaker and the fans cheered, Chris wound up his arm and launched the ball as fast as he could, kicking off the Labor Day Weekend matchup.

The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner selected Chris as the representative for the first pitch to recognize his dedication as an Authorized California Operation Lifesaver volunteer and kick off September Rail Safety Month. His extensive outreach efforts have educated thousands of people across Southern California about the importance of staying safe around train tracks.

California Operation Lifesaver Outreach Event in San ClementeChris and…

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California Operation Lifesaver Kicks Off September Rail Safety Month and Raises Awareness for U.S. Rail Safety Week

September 1, 2017-  Eight years ago, in August 2009, the California State Legislature proclaimed September as Rail Safety Month. Presenting California Operation Lifesaver and their rail partners with this proclamation the Legislature recognized the need for rail safety education.

California Operation Lifesaver (CAOL) is a non-profit safety education and awareness program dedicated to ending collisions, fatalities, and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad rights of way.

“Currently, California ranks number one in trespass casualties, number two in grade crossing incidents, and number one in both grade-cross and trespass fatalities in the United States,” indicated Nancy Sheehan, the California Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator. These statistics have remained the same since 2009, underscoring the continued need to educate the public about rail safety.

California’s crossing fatalities rose 79.3 percent from 2015 to 2016, while trespass fatalities increased by 17.4 percent. “These statistics stress the urgent need that rail safety is something all Californians should take seriously,” said Sheehan.

California Operation Lifesaver will actively promote rail safety awareness to educate the public during CA Rail Safety Month. Working with Operation Lifesaver Inc. in support of our nationwide See Tracks? Think Train! Campaign, California Operation Lifesaver will also participate and support the first ever U.S. Rail Safety Week; September 24 – September 30.

About every 3 hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Operation Lifesaver is working to empower people to keep themselves safe around railroad tracks. “We can all join the Rail Safety Month and the Rail Safety Week effort to do our part to raise rail safety awareness,” explained Sheehan.

During Rail Safety Month and U.S. Rail Safety Week, CAOL will utilize two grants, the OLI/Federal Railroad Administration Grant and the OLI/Federal Highway Administration Grant. Through these grants we will run digital advertising campaigns, TV PSA Ad Campaigns, and run special safety blitz events in partnership with railroad police departments. These campaigns will focus outreach to raise rail safety awareness in high incident counties across the state.

California Operation Lifesaver’s team of Authorized Volunteers work to raise rail safety awareness all year long through presentations and participation in events statewide. During CA Rail Safety Month CAOL volunteers will grow the message with presentations to schools, law enforcement, community groups, and more.

CAOL partners with railroads, government agencies, law enforcement, cities, counties, schools, and community groups throughout California. Together we will observe Rail Safety Month and Rail Safety Week to enhance our mutual rail safety efforts.

California Operation Lifesaver greatly appreciates and recognizes our rail safety partners across the state for their commitment and support of our continued efforts. Their partnership is essential to our ongoing mission to educate the public.

“We all need to work together. We urge the public to share the See Tracks? Think Train! message with 5 of your family or friends, ask those 5 to tell 5 to keep the message growing. Join the campaign to raise awareness; #SaveLivesTell5!

More information or request a free safety presentation: http://www.caol.us or http://www.oli.org.

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About Operation Lifesaver – Operation Lifesaver’s mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety.




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Tracking CAOL – Jan – June 2017

The First Half of 2017 has flown by…

WOW! It is hard to believe that we are half way through 2017!

California Operation Lifesaver (CAOL) was off and running at the beginning of the year. Our team of amazing volunteers lost no time demonstrating their commitment to raising rail safety awareness and saving lives by participating in the City of Riverside Winter Wonderland event on January 1st, In the first half of the year, we have participated in a variety of events and provided presentations across the state as a part of CAOL’s resolution to continue our rail safety education growing our See Tracks? Think Train! campaign.

Events that included:

In the first half of 2017, in addition to the variety of events, our remarkable volunteer team has provided rail safety educational presentations to many groups, including: Pre-K/Headstart, K- 8 Students, General High School, Driver Education, School Bus Drivers, Professional Drivers, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, and Adults across the state.

We are grateful to our team for all they do to share and save lives with our rail safety education statewide. Thank you to all of our rail safety partners and our volunteer team for their support and dedication that helps us grow our message!

Nancy Sheehan- McCulloch – State Coordinator
Operation Lifesaver Announces U.S. Rail Safety Week- September 24-30

Operation Lifesaver (www.oli.org), announced in February 2017 that it will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other organizations to observe the first national Rail Safety Week (RSW), September 24-30, 2017.The goal of RSW is to raise awareness across the United States of the need for rail safety education and empower the general public to keep themselves safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way.

California Operation Lifesaver recognizes September as “Rail Safety Month” in the state. CAOL will work with our rail safety partners, volunteers, and communities throughout California to enhance our efforts to raise awareness during these important dates. #railsafety  #SeeTracksThinkTrain

RSM2 2017 3
In early 2017, California Operation Lifesaver was fortunate to be awarded two grants. The first grant from  Operation Lifesaver, Inc., (OLI) in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for rail crossing safety public education efforts. The second grant awarded by Operation Lifesaver, Inc., (OLI) in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration will fund a variety of rail crossing safety and trespass prevention public education projects. Both grants will be in conjunction with California’s September Rail Safety Month and the U.S. Rail Safety Week, September 24-30, 2017.
CAOL will conduct a grade crossing TV public service announcement (PSA) campaign during August and September in markets that have experienced an increase in crossing incidents. California OL also will incorporate activities throughout the state during September, which is California Rail Safety Month, and partner with Railroad Partner police departments on enforcement events and community outreach in Los Angeles County during U.S. Rail Safety Week. California Operation Lifesaver will also conduct a 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, including areas where both trespass incidents and near-miss events have occurred. In addition to this heavy focus on trespass prevention, grade crossing safety awareness messages and materials will be shared at information booths at events, including San Bernardino 66’ers baseball games. CAOL is grateful to Operation Lifesaver Inc. the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration for the support they give us with these grants that help us raise rail safety awareness and save lives.
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Our Amazing Volunteers
In early 2017, we held volunteer appreciation luncheons in Northern and Southern CA. Our team members who met the OL/CAOL presentation/event criteria were recognized for their outreach efforts.
To Our Entire Volunteer Team,
We are grateful for ALL of our Operation Lifesaver Authorized Volunteers! Every day we are amazed by your steadfast dedication, tireless commitment, and your unending passion for growing our message. The dedication and efforts of this team provides crucial rail safety awareness to communities throughout California
We are grateful for all that you do to save lives with our rail safety education. We thank each of you for your dedication and support!
Nancy Sheehan – State Coordinator
Sara Logan – Assistant State Coordinator
Amtrak Video (2)
New Video: “The Emergency Notification System”
Thank you Amtrak for your video raising awareness on the Emergency Notification System Signs at railroad crossings.
Watch the video, “The Emergency Notification System” to learn 3 ways to save your life if you are stuck on the tracks! #railsafety #seetracksthinktrain 
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