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The Lo-Commotion: How to Manage Emergencies on Board

20 year old Alissa Banda caused a bit of a locommotion as she went into second stage labor on a train in Mexico while trying to travel to her local hospital, according to ParentDish. Her baby daughter had other ideas about how she wanted to greet the world and forced her parents and grandmother to disembark at a station to deliver her. While trains sometimes have a reputation for being late, the baby girl certainly put in a speedy appearance.

Alissa gave birth in a subway tunnel inside the station, with the aid of police officers. When asked about it later, she joked that at least her daughter would have something interesting to say when her friends asked her where she was born!

Her story is not the first of its kind Ė medical emergencies can and do sometimes happen on trains and because of this rail companies have a variety of safeguards to ensure the safety of passengers on board and the rail industry is continually striving to improve medical services and other health and safety aspects of train transportation.

Emergency Supplies on Trains

Modern trains all have an emergency first aid kit, an emergency tool kit and an emergency intercom system.

Some trains may carry an automated external defibrillator (AED) Ė a type of electric shock paddle that requires minimal training and can be used by a non-medical member of staff and uses audio and visual instructions so that it can be applied with ease. This is a vital piece of equipment that can keep a passengerís heart in rhythm until the emergency services arrive. It may seem unnecessary but if a passenger has a heart attack on a train that doesnít carry one, it could mean the difference between life and death. For this reason, doctors in the UK are calling for all rail companies to ensure that their trains are equipped with AEDís, report the British Medical Journal.

If you feel unwell or you notice another passenger is unwell you can notify a member of the train crew via the emergency intercom so they can assist you.

If you have become involved in a train accident, the trainís tool kit carries items such as a pry bar, a hacksaw and a glow stick to aid in exiting from the train in the event of a derailment. Crew are trained in how to react in an emergency and will do their best to help you.

How Passengers can Help Themselves

There are also a number of ways passengers can help themselves and prevent accidents. Virginia Railway Express have some helpful hints:

Alighting the Train

  • Stay far back from the edge of the platform

  • Hold your childís hand firmly when boarding or disembarking the train

  • Donít leave your child unattended

  • If you drop something on the tracks, DO NOT try to retrieve it.

  • On Board the Train

    • Donít try to get on or off a moving train

    • Donít lean on the railcar doors or try to stop them from closing

    • Hold on to handles situated on the back of the seats if you are walking through a moving train

    • Donít stand between the railcars when the train is moving

    • Stay alert Ė inform a crew member if you notice any passenger behaving suspiciously or you see an unattended package or bag

    • If you have a medical condition that could require attention during your journey, consider wearing a medical alert band so that crew members are aware. If you travel a lot you could also consider medical cover. Health insurance can cover the cost of any unforeseen medical bills or reimburse you if youíve already paid.

    Criminal Activity on Trains

    Like anywhere, trains are not exempt from crime and criminal activity may occur on them or in stations. Pickpocketing does happen so make sure you keep any valuables near you and be vigilant. Other issues that have been encountered on a train include harassment, disorderly behavior and unwanted sexual attention. If you feel uncomfortable or threatened on a train or you have been the victim of any kind of crime, seek help from a member of staff and call the transit police. Many countries have transit police. For instance, Canada has the Canadian National Police Service and the U.S has several railroad police agencies. Don't worry, though, according to Commander Jordan as reported in the Metro, your chances of being the victim of violent crime while in transit are extremely low - the railroad industry works with transit police in protecting their customers so that they can all enjoy a safe journey.

    contributed by Emma Fulbrig