Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Be Safe

Following my previous post, here are two very important safety tips.

1.  If someone falls onto the tracks, three things need to happen:

A.  The person needs to stay away from the third rail.  Most people know this.

B.  What is less well-known is that the person needs to walk along the tracks in the same direction that the train moves.  Only when he/she has reached the end of the platform should the person attempt to climb up onto the platform.  This is because the train is moving fast when it comes into the station but is moving very slowly by the time it reaches the end of the platform.  Once you reach the end of the platform, there is essentially no danger—the train stops by the time it gets that far anyway, and odds are the driver will stop far short of there once he sees someone on the tracks.  But the faster the train is moving, the more time it takes to stop, and so the less likely it is that the driver will be able to stop in time.  At least one person has died trying to climb the platform instead of walking along the tracks.  (Note:  the story I've linked to is really depressing, you may prefer not to read it.)

C.  People on the platform need to run toward the other end of the platform, the one where the train enters the station, and wave emphatically at the driver to stop.  Jump up and down, scream at the top of your lungs.

If everyone follows these steps, then it's unlikely for the person who fell onto the tracks to die.  Of course the person might be injured down there, and immobilized, and then it can be a tough decision whether someone should jump down and try to drag the injured person toward the end of the platform.  But that's a worst-case scenario, for most situations the key thing is to follow steps B and C above.

2.  If someone becomes violent on the subway car, or if someone becomes urgently ill, do not pull the emergency brake.  It would only result in several minutes of delay before help can arrive.  The key is to reach the next station as soon as possible.  The police might be waiting there, if they have been alerted (or medical professionals might be there if someone is sick).  But even if help isn't waiting, at least people can flee the attack or get the sick person off the train.  (Unless it is heading nearer to a hospital I guess, but realistically you probably want to get the person off the train and onto an ambulance.)  There was a knife attack on the subway in NYC, and the police were delayed because someone panicked and pulled the emergency brake.  (What do you know, another depressing story.)  Only pull the emergency brake if it is actually important to stop the train, which would be extremely rare.  (A good example, from the New York Times story I linked to:  someone is caught in a door and the train starts to move.)