Brightline, the future passenger rail service that will connect Fort Lauderdale to Miami and West Palm Beach, hosted first responders from Broward and Palm Beach counties at the rail operator’s Workshop b maintenance facility last week. The facility is located in in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Safety officials, including firefighters and police, participated in the four-hour workshop training seminar. Brightline’s emergency management team provided the first responders with hands-on training, equipment and facility tour, and a comprehensive overview of its safety and security plans.
“Safety is Brightline’s top priority, and it’s critical that we partner with all first responders along the rail corridor before we launch our service,” said Robert Gatchell, Brightline Safety and Security director. “This specialized training and preparedness workshop offers our local responders insights on how rail works and how to deal with rail incidents."
Gatchell, a railroad law enforcement veteran who served 15 years for NJ TRANSIT, added, “Collaboration is key to the safety and security of our guests, employees and the many communities in which we will operate. Our unified goal is for the highest level of safety preparedness.”
Gatchell and the Brightline safety and security team have been working with first responders over the past few months, exchanging information and procedures to ensure clear channels of communication once Brightline begins service. They will continue to build on the relationships and outreach to the first responder community in the upcoming weeks.
“Many of us have been meeting with Brightline safety representatives, but this hands-on training was extremely educational for our department,” said West Palm Beach Police Chief Sarah Mooney. “The City of West Palm Beach is committed to providing the highest level of service for our residents and visitors.”
Brightline has also been working closely with Operation Lifesaver (OLI), the nonprofit safety education and awareness organization, to inform tri-county school districts on increased awareness about rail safety. Brightline developed materials geared toward children and adults to meet the needs of the South Florida populace.
Through Brightline, rail safety information has been shared with multiple distribution channels, including utility bills, city websites and social media outlets, and libraries.