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U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) on Monday demonstrated a new mobile app that will allow first responders to quickly find out what type of hazardous materials were carried at the scene of a train accident. Known as AskRail, the app also allows responders to view emergency contact information for all Class Is and Amtrak.Users can check the contents of each rail car on the app, Lipinski's staffers said in a press release.Lipinski met with local first responders and rail industry leaders at a BNSF Railway Co. facility in Chicago to showcase the new technology."Northeastern Illinois is at the center of the nation’s freight transportation system and is the nation’s rail hub, so I am committed to making sure that America’s rails are as safe as possible," Lipinski said in a statement. “But in the event of an accident, I want to make sure our first responders have the best possible capabilities to protect our communities."Railinc Corp., a subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads (AAR), developed the app, which is currently available by invitation only.AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger said the app is "an invaluable tool" for first responders."Coupled with emergency training and response planning, AskRail augments the flow of information and specifics between freight railroads and emergency first responders in communities along the nation’s 140,000-mile freight rail network," he said.
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