Partners in Accident Response: The American Red Cross and the NTSB

By Deborah Hersman

The NTSB and ARC work together closely in the aftermath of transportation disasters

As too many Americans have learned in recent years, disasters, natural or man-made, are devastating. But in the aftermath of a disaster, chaos and destruction are replaced with order through the coordinated efforts of many organizations. When the NTSB begins its work at an accident site, the American Red Cross is on-scene with us to support not only the survivors of a transportation disaster, but also the families and friends of the victims by assisting with housing, food, and counseling services.

A recent example of Red Cross assistance occurred earlier this summer following a truck/Amtrak train collision near Miriam, Nevada. Shortly after the accident, they established a temporary gathering center in a nearby elementary school where the surviving passengers could find shelter from the desert heat and injured passengers were triaged.

The relationship between the American Red Cross and the NTSB was formalized by Congress in two important pieces of legislation, the 1996 Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act and the 2008 Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act. The American Red Cross has the primary responsibility for coordinating the emergency care and support of the families of passengers involved in certain aviation and passenger rail accidents. In recent years, our relationship with the American Red Cross has been expanded to other modes of transportation, so the NTSB can count on this essential support when we investigate highway, marine, and pipeline accidents as well.

The NTSB is grateful to the American Red Cross for the humanitarian services they provide during very difficult times following transportation accidents. We appreciate our partnership with the American Red Cross and look forward to its continuation for many years to come.

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