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Rail News: Safety

One in four transportation firms rate disaster preparedness plans as 'fair' or 'poor,' university survey says


Although a majority of transportation professionals rate their companies’ disaster preparedness plans as “good” to “excellent,” one in four rate their plans as only “fair” or “poor” and 5 percent said their company has no plan, according to a survey conducted by Hill & Knowlton and commissioned by the National Emergency Response & Rescue Training Center (NERRTC).

A division of Texas A&M University System’s Texas Engineering Extension Service, NERRTC sought to uncover disaster planning trends at large companies in six industries: transportation, health care, energy, chemical, commercial real estate and entertainment. Hill & Knowlton polled 629 professionals in the industries via the Internet.

Eighty-two percent of transportation industry respondents said they updated disaster response and recovery plans within the past year, but 14 percent said they don’t train employees on the plans and 26 percent said they never have conducted disaster response exercises. Only 63 percent of the transportation industry respondents rated their companies’ training as “good” or “better,” NERRTC said.

“Survey results suggest that private sector preparedness has improved in recent years, but critical gaps still exist,” said NERRTC Director Harrison Lobdell in a prepared statement. “Employees need to be trained to implement plans under extreme pressure in an invariably chaotic environment, and those plans need to be tested to make sure they work.”