Norfolk Southern and RapidSOS Unveil New Solution to Make Train Incident Response Safer and Smarter

by Thomas Prewett

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New York, New York — February 29, 2024 – RapidSOS, the intelligent safety platform that securely links life-saving data from connected devices, apps and sensors directly to first responders, and Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC), unveiled Thursday their rail safety solution. The partnership aims to further the availability of critical information for first responders in rare significant incidents. 

As an industry leader with a focus on advancing safety, Norfolk Southern continuously seeks new ways to partner with first responders. Rail incidents involving hazardous materials are rare, but when they happen, accurate train information is critical for first responders. 

RapidSOS and Norfolk Southern’s solution, which is free to public safety agencies across the U.S., provides first responders quick and easy access to cargo and hazardous material information, enables mutual aid requests, and provides ongoing training. The feature builds on similar programs available in the industry and evolves communication in a way that better integrates first responders, the way they work and how they communicate.

“Norfolk Southern is committed to being an industry leader in safety,” said John Fleps, Norfolk Southern’s Vice President of Safety. “When a rail incident occurs, seconds count. Through our partnership with RapidSOS, 911 call centers and first responder agencies throughout our 22-state network will have faster access to the information they need to safeguard their response, save lives, and protect the communities in which we operate.”

How it Works
One of the key features of this collaborative effort is the ability to provide real-time data and situational awareness to emergency response teams. 

In the event of a rail emergency, Norfolk Southern will initiate a digital emergency alert through RapidSOS, digitally transmitting critical information, the location of the incident and what the train is carrying to first responders empowering a safe, swift, and more informed response during a rail emergency, the data also:

  • Highlights any hazardous material the train may be carrying at the top
  • Provides safe handling and emergency response guides for those materials
  • Is easily shared via text or email from 911 to field responders and any mutual aid partners

“Our partnership with Norfolk Southern will provide first responder agencies with contextual data and information to respond in the rare event of a train emergency,” said Karin Marquez, Chief Public Safety Brand Officer at RapidSOS. “We are thrilled to work with Norfolk Southern to support our heroes in public safety to keep communities prepared and safe.”

Norfolk Southern and RapidSOS conduct thousands of training hours annually, teaching emergency communications centers, firefighters, hazmat crews, law enforcement and emergency medical services to respond to emergencies. Through their combined forces, this solution is available to every public safety agency at no cost. 

“Prior to this partnership, telecommunicators had to manually search online databases and verbally relay critical information to field responders during rail incidents, “ said Brian Fontes, CEO of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). “9-1-1 needs innovative solutions like this that share life-saving information digitally, quickly, and intuitively.” 

To learn more about this new feature, visit rapidsos.com/rail-solutions.

About RapidSOS
In partnership with public safety, RapidSOS has created the world’s first intelligent safety platform that securely links life-saving data from over 540 million connected devices, apps and sensors directly to safety agents, 911, and field responders. To learn more about our technology that’s creating life-saving connections, visit www.rapidsos.com

About Norfolk Southern
Since 1827, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) and its predecessor companies have safely moved the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy. Today, it operates a customer-centric and operations-driven freight transportation network. Committed to furthering sustainability, Norfolk Southern helps its customers avoid approximately 15 million tons of yearly carbon emissions by shipping via rail. Its dedicated team members deliver more than 7 million carloads annually, from agriculture to consumer goods, and Norfolk Southern originates more automotive traffic than any other Class 1 Railroad. Norfolk Southern also has the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern US, serving a majority of the country’s population and manufacturing base, with connections to every major container port on the Atlantic coast as well as connections to major ports in the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Learn more by visiting www.NorfolkSouthern.com.