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State Operation Lifesaver gets grant for safety education

North Carolina Operation Lifesaver has been awarded a grant from Operation Lifesaver, Inc., in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration for rail crossing safety and trespass prevention public education projects in conjunction with U.S. Rail Safety WeekSept. 24-30. North Carolina is one of 15 states to be awarded these rail safety grants in a competitive process.

Federal statistics show that about every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States. North Carolina ranks eighth nationally for trespassing fatalities, with 22 trespassing deaths and five crossing collision deaths in 2016.

The state program will use the funding to raise awareness among residents about how to keep themselves and others safe at railroad crossings. The grant project includes a television ad campaign on cable outlets; a pilot program to distribute bags featuring an anti-trespassing message to convenience stores and ABC stores; rail safety messages on digital billboards; and a mock highway-rail crossing collision. The campaign will run from July to September and will include messaging surrounding Rail Safety Week, Sept. 24-30.

“During Rail Safety Week, we will share lifesaving messages for North Carolina, as part of our mission to eliminate rail-related injuries and deaths at railroad crossings and along rights-of-way,” said Margaret Cannell, North Carolina  Operation Lifesaver state coordinator. “We are grateful to the Federal Railroad Administration for their contribution to improving rail safety in North Carolina.”

U.S. Rail Safety Week will feature awareness events throughout the country, as well as digital and radio ad campaigns targeted to all age groups, with a goal to empower people to keep themselves safe near tracks and trains.

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. 

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