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About Us

What is Operation Lifesaver?

Washington Operation Lifesaver (WAOL) is a free public service education program dedicated to preventing and reducing fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights-of-way. We educate the public on highway-rail grade crossing safety and provide vital information about the dangers encountered when people trespass on railroad property. We also get involved with engineering projects to improve public safety, and we work with the law enforcement community in an effort to reduce grade crossing and trespass incidents. WAOL is part of a national program known as Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI). Both WAOL and OLI are non-profit organizations. WAOL is sponsored by: BNSF Railroad, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Dept. of Transportation, AMTRAK, Union Pacific Railroad, Sound Transit, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Federal Railroad Administration, Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and the United Transportation Union.

Why is Operation Lifesaver Needed?

Hundreds of people are killed and thousands are seriously injured each year in the United States at highway-rail crossings and at other locations along railroad tracks.

Many people are unaware that trains cannot stop quickly to avoid collisions. Others take chances by ignoring warning signs and signals, going around lowered gates, stopping on tracks, or simply not paying attention when approaching highway-rail crossings. Many people make the fatal mistake of choosing railroad tracks as shortcuts or as places to walk or run for recreation. They simply don't realize how quickly a train can be there until it's too late and there's no escape.

Unfortunately, on the average of every 115 minutes somewhere in the United States, there is an incident at a crossing or along a railroad right-of-way. Operation Lifesaver programs educate the public by providing vital information so these tragedies can be reduced and prevented.

Where Can You Get Operation Lifesaver Information?

Washington Operation Lifesaver provides free safety presentations which include a talk with colorful visuals and informative videos are given to any group, business or organization (schools, youth groups, truck and bus companies, civic clubs, utility companies, corporations, etc.).

You will learn many surprising and important facts about trains and what they can and cannot do. Our certified presenters tailor their presentations to meet your schedule and needs.

Presentations vary in length from 30 to 60 minutes depending upon a group's time limitations.

Presentations are also tailored to specific types of groups and age levels. For example, we have special programs and videos for school bus drivers, professional truck drivers, teens, children and others. A variety of videos ranging from cartoons to deadly crashes are used to help convey the Operation Lifesaver message.

Presentations can  be arranged in any area of the state by contacting the State Coordinator at washington@oli.org or (360) 664-1257.