Russel “Bud” Pickett, road foreman of engines at Kansas City Southern Lines, addressed the Lions Club at their Thursday luncheon.
Pickett, a Doyline High School alum, spoke on Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit organization with the mission of ending collisions, deaths and injuries at railroad crossroads and rights of ways. The national program was established in 1972 and became a state program in 1981.
“Since the founding of Operation Lifesaver, railroad crossing accidents have been reduced by 80 percent,” Pickett said.
Despite this reduction in accidents, Louisiana remains in the national top 10 for crossing collisions, fatalities and injuries, he said.
“The goal is to get the number of crossing accidents to zero,” Pickett said.
Operation Lifesaver offers free educational presentations to businesses, schools and even first responders.
“Operation Lifesaver can come in and give training to first responders on how to deal with crossing accidents,” Pickett said.
The organization also provides assistance to communities wishing to upgrade their rail road warning systems.
“Operation Lifesaver can help upgrade from passive to active warnings. It use to be you’d drive up and all you’d see is a crossing, now there are flashing lights and gates,” Pickett said, noting that the organization can help with the expensive equipment necessary for ensuring the safety of a railroad crossing.
The organization’s motto is “Look, Listen and Live,” reminding everyone to look for trains, listen for trains and live to see another day.
For more information on railroad crossing safety, Operation Lifesaver visit www.laoperationlifesaver.org.
The Lions Club meets every Thursday at noon at the American Legion Hall, located at 119 Pine Street.