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AskRail for Rapid Access to Rail Car Hazmat Info

Posted: July 27, 2023

AskRail is a free app for first responders. It provides immediate access to accurate, timely data about what type of hazardous material (hazmat) a rail car is carrying so responders can make an informed decision about how to handle a rail emergency.

What you should know about AskRail

AskRail is:

  • Available for mobile devices, desktop computers and the web.
  • Available for first responders who could potentially respond to a rail-related incident. Applicants must be vetted and approved for access by a Class 1 freight railroad.
  • Not available to the public (for security reasons).
  • Working with emergency management agencies on a pilot program to integrate into emergency communications centers (ECCs), so that ECCs can push rail-related hazmat information to first responders at an incident scene.
  • A collaborative effort between America’s Class I freight railroads; Amtrak; the International Association of Fire Chiefs; and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and its subsidiary Railinc, which administers the app and associated services.

Applying for access to AskRail

Applicants can download the free app and then complete and submit the registration form within the app. The registration form asks for basic information about the individual’s job role and organization. Applicants select the Class 1 railroad located in their response area that will become the sponsor. Upon submittal, the app automatically sends this information to the appropriate railroad for approval.

Who should apply?

  • Emergency responders (along railroad routes)
  • State and local ECCs (for integration into operations)
  • Emergency services agencies (operating in jurisdictions with railroads)
  • For more information

    The AAR provides:

    • A fact sheet on AskRail for first responders.
    • A fact sheet on AskRail for ECCs.
    • This article is based on content in the
      July 27, 2023 InfoGram.

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