i. The purpose of this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is to delineate responsibilities and procedures for the control and coordination of all responses to emergency situations on the mainline.

ii. To provide step by step guidance on how to deal with incidents should they happen.

iii. Particular note should be taken of the need to provide suitable training to keep staff aware of what needs to be done in the event of a serious incident.

1. Objectives of incident Management Plan.

In Order of priority these are:
a. Save lives and alleviate suffering
b. Provide help to stranded passengers and arrange their prompt evacuation.
c. Instill a sense of security amongst all concerned by providing accurate information.
d. Protect Railway property.
e. Ascertain the cause of accident, preserving clues by cordoning of incident site etc.
f. Expedite restoration of train operation.

There is a difference between a disaster and an accident. All disaster need not be the outcome of train accident, neither are all accidents classified as disaster.

Accidents are occurrences where safety has been affected. Disasters are those situations, which cause acute distress to passengers, employees and outsiders and may even be caused by external factors and unless promptly managed the distress levels are likely to increase with time.

2. List of serious incidents requiring use of this plan.:

a) Fire, smoke emission, explosion in railway premises including train.
b) Derailment of a passenger carrying train.
c) Collision of a train/ trains.
d) Security threats / Terrorist attacks, widespread violence, bomb explosion.
e) Release of Chemical or biological gas in trains, stations or tunnel.
f) Natural calamities like cyclone, floods and earth quakes.

3. Definitions : In the context of Indian Railways, unusual events are classified as under:

a) Incidents - which cause delay to trains.
b) Accidents - which have the potential or do actually cause loss of life and or injury and damage to property.
c) Emergency / Serious Accidents / Disaster – these may or may not necessarily be the outcome of train accidents but have the potential to cause loss of life and or injury to human beings causing further death / injury and wide spread and prolonged distress to all those involved unless tackled in an effective manner.
d) Disaster Management Team (A team of Railway officials earmarked to reach incident site by first available means & take over site management) at Zonal, Divisional and area / major station levels.
4. Scope: This SOP is applicable to all IR personnel working on the Open Line.

5. Responsibility :

a) The Assistant Operations Manager Divisional Control Office, or designated Divisional Control Office Supervisor, is responsible for the overall control and coordination of emergency situations on the mainline.

b) The OCS (officer in charge site) is responsible for overall control and coordination of all activities at the incident scene under instruction of Divisional Control.

c) Traction, Track and Structure, Signalling and Telecommunication, fire service and security personnel are responsible for providing technical assistance to divisional control office & OC site.

d) Rolling Stock Department is responsible for providing technical assistance to Divisional Contrail Office and OCS, as required and managing site restoration work.

e) Station operations and Commercial personnel are responsible for making appropriate station announcements, and providing information, rendering first aid, mobilising medical & fire services & assistance from civil administration, including police and providing all other assistance in alleviating suffering and hardship to passengers and others.

f) The Guards in charge & Loco pilot in the area affected by the incident are responsible for :
i. Providing their passengers with up to date and timely information regarding the situation’s status and / or progress ; and
ii. Operating their trains in compliance with applicable rules and procedures and Divisional Control Office instructions.
g) Government Railway Police and Railway Protection personnel are responsible securing the incident scene and for performing / directing investigation activities in compliance with existing procedures. (In case of
incidents caused by criminal acts)

h) The senior police official at the scene is responsible for controlling and coordinating all police activities at all times. In doing so, this official has final authority to determine when these activities are complete and shall
coordinate these activities with the OCS and the senior fire services official.
i) Security Personnel will assist Civil / Railway Police, Fire services personnel, medical services or station staff as directed by OCS.

6. General :

The following is the list of personnel authorized to act as officer in charge site (OCS) This list also indicates the probable change of command at the scene.
a. Train Superintendent or Guard of the affected train.
b. Loco pilot
c. Station Manager / Station Master.
d. Rail Operations Supervisor or Traffic Inspector.
e. Any Railway Officer, either on duty, of duty or on leave, present at the site of incident.
f. Member of Division Disaster Management Team.

When none of the above mentioned personnel are present at the scene, Divisional Control Office shall appoint an OCS as directed by DRM from the personnel available.

Guard in charge, Loco pilot and Station Manager must assume and carry out the responsibilities of the OCS until relieved.
The first Guard in charge / Loco pilot, on the scene, shall act as the OCS until he / she is relieved by the first senior personnel / Rail Operations Supervisor to arrive. The Rail Operations Supervisor shall continue acting as the OCS until he / she is relieved by an authorized senior official or released by DIVISIONAL CONTROL OFFICE after another OCS has been designated. However, it is the responsibility of DIVISIONAL CONTROL OFFICE to select the most qualified person, for the type of incident, to act as the OCS. The mere presence or arrival of an authorized senior official at the scene shall not indicate his/her assumption of command as OCS. Such senior official shall remain in an evaluating capacity unless he / she
specifically assume command. The method of managing an emergency situation will be in compliance with the applicable Zonal Railway Rules and procedures contained in Accident Manual, Disaster Management Manual or as directed by DIVISIONAL CONTROL OFFICE during incidents not covered by Rules or
Procedures. The OCS has the authority and the responsibility to command the presence of any personnel and equipment required at the scene and to command the removal of any unnecessarily personnel or equipment from the scene. This does not apply to police or Fire Department personnel. Entry in to the incident area by the news media or other visitors must be authorized by the CPRO and shall be coordinated with Divisional Control Office, Divisional Railway Manager, OCS and Metro Police.

When it is necessary to notify the fire services, and / or to seek medical assistance the following information shall be provided:
a. Identification of caller;
b. Nature of problem (give in plain English / Hindi e.g. fire, flood, smoke, injuries) ;
c. Type of assistance requested; be specific
d. Specific location of the problem and the best access points.

7. Procedure : The chief controller / Operations Manager of Divisional Control Office, or designated Divisional Control Office Supervisor shall:
a. Ensure that ARME & ART is turned out on time.
b. Appoint the initial OCS.
c. Co ordinate all field activities and requests through the OCS.
d. Notify members of Disaster Management Team and all departments and personnel, as required.
e. Coordinate and direct the safe movement of all trains, to include those trains which may be involved in the incident:
f. Request police / RPF assistance in critical stations for crowd control.
g. Keep Loco pilots and Station Managers informed of system status and instruct them to make appropriate announcements to their passengers:
h. Ensure that system-wide public address announcements are made frequently to provide patrons with up-to-date information concerning Rail System status:
i. Coordinate and assist OCS with restoration activities.
j. Provide and obtain, from OCS frequent updates on events
k. Inform Commissioner Railway Safety and local civil authorities as per procedures in vogue in the event of train accidents like, derailment, Collision, fire, terrorist attack etc. of a passenger carrying train or any other
accident relating to train operation resulting in death and / or grievous injury
(as per Railway Act provision.)

The OCS shall:

a. Ensure that the safety of passengers and personnel at the incident scene is maintained; ascertaining that all injured and stranded passengers have been safely evacuated. Till evacuation is complete necessary succor in the form of drinking water, tea & edibles are made available to stranded passengers.
b. Ensure that all personnel involved, at the scene, work efficiently to restore rail service as quickly and safely as possible.
c. Control and coordinate all field activities with personnel at the scene.
d. Coordinate all police related activities and requirements with the senior police official at the scene.
e. Coordinate activities with the senior Fire Department official at the scene and, when available, provide the Fire Department Command Post with a
knowledgeable employee, to act as a communications link to Divisional and Central control and to the OCS.
f. To the senior official at the scene.
g. And activities at the incident site and keep Divisional Control Office informed of progress.
h. Establish a command post; at the incident scene direct all inquiries and / or requests made by jurisdictional police officials, appoint individual (s) to provide public address announcements, at five (5) minute intervals, to
passengers of the incident train and or inside the incident station.
i. Direct all inquiries and / or request made by the news media to the CPRO Office.
j. Maintain a chronological log of all events.

Station Operations / commercial Personnel shall:

  • Make appropriate station announcements
  • Assist Policy with crowd control : and
  • Make every effort to identify and retain knowledgeable witnesses or to obtain their testimony along with their address.

Guards and Loco Pilots shall:

a. Operate their trains in compliance with applicable rules and procedures and 
b. Keep their passengers informed by making frequent announcements regarding system and delay status.
All Rail personnel at the incident scene shall honour the requests of and obey the directions of the OCS.

Emergency Control in the Zonal Office

Emergency control shall be manned by designated officers as per procedure laid down. It shall take prompt action to inform concerned officers, plan all assistance to the Division. Mobilize resources and manpower.
Seek GM / COM’s approval to relay the information to Railway Board Regulate traffic on the affected line, on adjoining divisions and Zonal railways, to include train cancellation, diversion, rerouting, road bridging and air lifting of stranded passengers.
CPRO will continuously brief media to inform passengers of the current status of rail situation.

Duties of Commercial Staff in case of Accident.

1. On receipt of information of accident from the Operating Emergency control following Officials of commercial departments at HQ will be informed by the Commercial Control of the headquarter : (Designation of HODs and DyHODs may differ from zone to zone)
a. CCM
b. CCM/G
c. CCO
d. CCM / Passenger Services and Marketing
e. Dy. CCM General
f. Dy. CCM Catering
g. SCM General

2. Nominated Commercial officials (Para no. 3) on receipt of information of train accident would proceed to the site of accident by the quickest available means.
In case of serious accidents involving trains CCO (in absence of CCO, CCM (S&M) or CCM / IT will proceed to the site of accident. CCM/G will remain in commercial control)
3. Centers of Activity :
a. Headquarter
b. Divisional Commercial Control
c. Site of Accident

Headquarter :

i. Commercial control will have DOT and railway Telephones, FAX, photocopier machine and a PC with an Internet. The details are as under : Telephone Nos. P & T; Railway and Fax.

ii. Commercial Control office in Headquarter would be manned by officers round the clock basis. In case of serious accident of passenger carrying trains, CCM/G will immediately come to Control office. In his absence CCM (T) / CCM (S&M) and Dy. CCM / G will come to the Control office. If Dy. CCM/G is not available, SCM/G will attend. Thereafter, Control duties will be assigned as per roster for manning the Control office round the clock. Besides regular staff manning commercial control at least one officer and one inspector will remain in the control round the clock. Officer deputed will be responsible for proper functioning of the control.

iii. Headquarter Commercial Control would collect following information :

a. Time and place of accident from Operating Emergency Control.
b. Details of dead / injured passengers, rescue operation, helps/ assistance being rendered at the site of accident enroot operations, helps/ assistance being rendered at the site of accident, enroute etc. from the divisional Commercial control at the site of accident.
c. Details of specials being run to the accident site and official accompanying from Operating Emergency Control.
d. CCM / IT will get the reservation charts printed and supplied to control. In addition the addresses as per requisition slips shall also be get collected by CCM/IT & supplied to Commercial control, and Divisional Control.

iv. Commercial control at HQ will maintain:
a. Telephone and FAX numbers of the control at accident site manned by commercial officer.
b. Names and phone numbers of hospitals where injured are admitted / (i) with names of passengers and (ii) location of dead bodies identified (iii) digital photographs of all all injured and dead transmitted through
computer network to be displayed and at sites or telecast & all enquiry offices.
c. Telephone and FAX numbers of enquiry offices that would have been set up at various stations including at other Zonal Railway.
v. Commercial control in the Headquarters office would constantly monitor the information relayed from the divisions and other railways regarding the dead and injured persons and enquiry offices opened at important stations.
vi. Commercial control in the Headquarters office will monitor coordinate regarding assistance required by the division from other divisions / other railways in terms of deployment of material, staff and officers.
vii. In case of confirmation of death / injury the Commercial control will inform the concerned division / railway (Commercial Control) to convey the information to the family of affected passengers.
viii. Maintain a log of events.

Divisional Control :

i. Control offices will have DOT/RLY, Telephones, FAX, photo copier machine and a PC with an internet connection. The details of telephones and faxes of all the divisions should be clear.
ii. Commercial control in Division would be manned by officers on round the clock basis. In case of serious accident of passenger carrying trains, DCM in his absence, DCM/Catering, where available or one of the ACMs will immediately come to the Control office. Second senior most officer of the division will work as in charge of the Commercial control.
iii. Divisional Commercial would collect the following information from Divisional Emergency Control/accident site:-
a) Time and place of accident from Operating Emergency Control office.
b) Details of causalities- dead/injured and safe passengers from operating emergency Control office.
c) Details of specials begin run to accident site and official accompanying from Operating Emergency Control office and monitor their arrangements.
d) Details of rescue operations and assistance being rendered to the affected passengers.
iv. Information collected should be relayed to all concerned including HQ Commercial control, Enquiry offices opened at stations through phone, fax, etc. without delay.
v. Commercial Control in Division will maintain:
a. Telephone and FAX numbers of the accident site.
b. Names and phone numbers of hospital where injured are admitted and dead bodies shifted, and
c. Telephone and FAX numbers of enquiry offices that would be set up at various Stations including at other Zonal Railways.
d. Name of Commercial Officers deployed in each hospital.
vi. Divisional control will advise headquarters commercial control, details of assistance required from Headquarter or the adjoining divisions.
vii. Maintain a log of events.

Site of Accident: Sr. DCM in his absence, DCM will attend site of accident and work as site in charge of the Commercial department.

I. Setting of Control Office at the site:

i) Division would set up a control office at the site with telephone, FAX and Public Announcement System (PAS) to be manned by Commercial, Security and Medical departments.
ii) Announcement would be made for registering the names of injured passengers, and the list would be verified by Doctor to be relayed to the Control offices at the division and headquarters, separately indicating the extent of injury viz. Trivial, simple & grievous.
iii) Control office at the site will be manned by Assistant Commercial Officers on round the clock basis.
iv) The site control office would maintain a long book. Flow of information both incoming and outgoing would be recorded along with the time and names of the officers / staff who were given information to keep track of chronology of events.
v) Commercial officers / personnel at site will NOT interact with the press. 
vi) All necessary arrangements for refund as per rules should be made.
vii) A manual/guide be made available with train crew like; TTEs, AC Coach
Attendants, AC Pantry Car Staff, which will inter-alia to include Dos and
DONTs for them in case of accidents.
viii) Commercial Control will ensure that at stations where trains are
  • Delayed
  • Diverted, or
  • Terminated.
Additional alphabetical list of passengers on board with their current status must be available and displayed at enquiry counters for quicker dissemination of information. It will be ensured by CCM/IT and divisional Commercial officers.

II. Rescue:

Sr. DCM will ensure the following functions.
i) Sufficient number of TTEs/TCs and licensed porters in uniform would be rushed to the site. The required personnel would be mobilized from the affected division and the neighboring divisions by the quickest available means. For this purpose TTEs from the divisional squad should be utilized. Requirement of staff could be continuously reviewed and augmented depending on the assessment of the officer in charge of site.
ii) Arrangements will be made for speedy dispersal of stranded passengers of the train(s) involved in the accident, as well as of trains regulated or terminated as a result of the accident in association with operating
department. In case of non availability of rail services, adequate arrangements should be made to disperse them by arranging road vehicles etc. This would be done by site in charge.
iii) Depending upon the need, accommodation in hotels/Dharmashalas would be hired for accommodating passengers and providing resting facilities to officials working at the site.
iv) Make arrangements to inform the next of kith & kin of the deceased/injured persons involved in accident. It will be done free of cost.
v) TTEs of the affected train will not leave site of accident till ordered by the site in charge.
vi) Train Superintendent or Conductor or senior most Ticket Checking staff till a commercial officer from division reaches to the site of accident, will allot duties to each available ticket Checking/other Commercial
staff/volunteers in a manner to ensure maximum help to passengers under the prevalent circumstances. The function will be taken over by a Commercial officer as soon as he reaches to the site of accident.
vii) Duties of ticket checking staff on board will be:
a. Collect Railway staff, Doctors and volunteers on the train or near the accident site for obtaining assistance.
b. Provide assistance to Guard in making quick assessment of assistance required.
c. To carry out the duties assigned to them by Guard/Senior official present at the site of the accident.
d. Take action to save lives and render First Aid and organize relief operations with the available assistance.
viii) In case of involvement of Goods train, following actions will be taken promptly.
a. Arrangements of adequate labour by mobilizing resources available at other stations as well as from the market locally, for unloading of material from the wagons involved in accident.
b. Adequate tarpaulins to cover the contents so that these are saved from rains etc.
c. Arrangements of gunny bags etc. for retrieval of loose materials lying at the site of accident.
d. Consignor / consignee would be informed regarding involvement of their consignments in accident besides intimating forwarding / destination station. The information will be conveyed through the commercial control of the division / HQ as the case may be. Also to make arrangements for delivery of the consignments at the site of accident if they desire.
e. Arrangements of road transport for evacuation of the contents from the site of accident.
f. To coordinate with the Operating branch for supply of adequate empty stock for transshipment / disposal of the contents.
g. Till such time, the consignment involved in the accident is not removed / transported; the same shall be made over to RPF In charge for security purposes.
ix) Staff using their personal mobile phones in connection with the accident will be eligible for a lump sum grant of Rs. 200/- without any clerical work to be performed in accidents.
x) In case of bodies, which remain unclaimed / unidentified, the division shall get such bodies photographed by hiring a photographer. Each body will be given a number, which can be displayed, on the body of the dead for subsequent identification.

III. Safety of passengers / Passengers luggage:

i) Separate tent for packages / bags and belongings of the injured and dead should be arranged and guarded with the help of RPF at site.
ii) A list of each item with distinguishing marks should be made.
iii) Luggage claimed should be handed over on the satisfactory proof of ownership.
iv) Unclaimed items will be safely transferred to one of the stations and for this purpose, if need be, road vehicles will be utilized/hired. Their personal belongings are useful in establishing identify of deceased/missing.

IV. Catering arrangements:

It will be ensured by the site in charge.
i) Sr. DCM will ensure that adequate eatables, water etc. is available at the site of accident in case of involvement of a passenger carrying train in an accident. This arrangement will be made for the passengers free of charge at the site of accident and at roadside station where train involved in the accident is stable temporarily.
ii) Gas stoves, Gas cylinders, drinking water, provisions for preparation of meals, etc., should be rushed to site for left over stranded passengers and officials involved in rescue operations. This will be augmented later, if necessary. Sufficient cooks and catering staff from departmental catering or catering contractor would be ensured at the site for arranging tea, biscuits, packed meals like poories and vegetables to the stranded passengers, and staff engaged in rescue and restoration.
iii) Sr. DCMs would prepare advance section-wise nomination of catering agencies both departmental and private for rushing to site.
iv) To supplement railways catering arrangements, nearby Dhabas and hotels should be contacted and arrangements made for opening up stalls at the site.

V. Hospitals:

i) One assistant officer each in the hospital will be deputed to look after where injured passengers are admitted or dead passengers are kept. In case of nonavailability of assistant officer, one CMI/ Inspector/ Sr. supervisor will be deputed by Sr. DCM. All dead bodies must be photographed after wiping their faces to establish identify.
ii) The nominated officer will work in close coordination with doctors and render required help.
iii) Officer in charge of the hospital will assist kith and kin of the passengers involved in disposal of dead bodies, release injured passengers.
iv) Deputed official will obtain details like names, address etc. of hospitalized/dead passengers. He will also obtain the details of injured, nature of injuries with the help of doctors and convey it to the divisional commercial controller.

VI. Payment of ex-gratia:

i) Payment of ex-gratia at the site as well as in the hospitals will be arranged on the basis of the identification of injuries by the doctors.
ii) Sr.DCM/DCM will ensure availability of sufficient cash for payment of ex gratia. 
iii) CCO will also depute claims officials at the site/hospitals to assist the relatives of the injured/dead passengers regarding filling of claims for compensation.
iv) If some injured passengers/kith and kin of deceased involved in accident have not been paid ex-gratia at the site of accident or in the hospital, arrangements should be made to pay at their residence by deputing officials of the division or seeking help of the other divisions/railway. Such payment will be witnessed by the Pradhan or Sarpanch or any other responsible official of the area.

VII. Enquiry offices at the important stations enroute.

This function will be ensured by the in charge available in divisional control. 

i) Emergency offices would be opened at important stations as per the route of the train. On the basis of need, enquiry offices would be opened at other important stations also
ii) All these enquiry offices should have DOT and Railway telephone with STD facility, FAX machine, photocopier and a PC with internet connection. Identical telephone numbers will be preferred.
iii) These enquiry offices would be manned on round the clock basis by deputing additional staff. It will be supervised by a commercial officer, where feasible/commercial inspector/CIT.
iv) These control offices should constantly keep in touch with the divisional commercial control.
v) Emergency offices would display the list of dead and injured passengers at the notice board at stations.
vi) Officers attending these emergency offices would not interact with the press.
vii) Sr. DCMs will prepare their own contingency plan on similar lines.
viii) Withdrawal of money from station earnings: 

Money withdrawn from station earnings will also be used for relief operations like purchase of items immediately required, hiring of vehicles and other equipments directly.

High Level Committee’s Report on Disaster Management:

Indian Railways do have a well-established system for disaster response, which has been fine-tuned over a century and a half of its existence. The system delivers what it has been designed to do. But increasing traffic density, longer length of trains with lot more passengers per train and higher operational speeds drive the need to change the system.
The Ministry of Railways have constituted a high level committee to review the disaster management system of IR and give recommendations for strengthening and streamlining the same.
The committee consists of the following:
1. Member Mechanical                                       Convenor
2. Member Traffic                                              Member
3. Dierector General (RHS)                                Member
4. Director General (RPF)                                  Member
5. Additional Member (Budget)                          Member
6.Executive Director / Safety                              Secretary

The terms of reference of the committee are:

a. To review the existing disaster management system over IR related to train accidents and natural calamities and to suggest improvements.
b. To identify the technological and managerial inputs in order to quicken the pace of relief and rescue operations.
c. To institute a standing arrangement with other central ministries, state governments and armed forces to enable quick and smooth restoration operations without any legal or procedural hurdles.

In India, Railways have been historically handling rescue and relief operations in railway accidents, and therefore IR has to rise to the expectations of the public.
Significant technological advancements have taken place in the area of post disaster relief and rescue operations. Consequently, a number of state of the art relief and rescue equipment, tools and plants and innovative techniques have emerged for quickening the pace of rescue and relief operations.

It is natural and logical that in most of railway accidents / disasters, the relief in the form of response arrives quickly in urban / vicinity of urban areas. However, in case of remote area accident / disasters, factors such as lack of communication, lack of immediate accessibility, covering of distance gap to reach the site of accident and conveyance of equipment and trained manpower create serious problems for carrying out rescue and relief.
The committee believes that IR’s first responsibility in case of accidents is to reach and extricate accident victims and organize effective trauma care. The basic principle of trauma management is speed & expediency – “Most trauma patients die of shock, which comes from sluggish or non-existent circulation and the resulting chemical changes in the body.”

Thus the first hour after the accident is termed as “The Golden Hour” as

  • Most trauma patients can be saved if bleeding is effectively stopped and blood pressure restored within an hour.
  • It is likely that patients, who have experienced shock and remain in the state of shock for long duration, will die. Surgical intervention within that first one hour is, therefore, crucial for increasing the patient’s chances of survival.
  • This hour, called “The Golden Hour”, begins the moment the injury occurs. 
Therefore, the basic steps for quick and effective rescue and relief operations are following:
a. Rapid access to the site of accident
b. Quick extrication of victims and effective on-site medical management.
c. Stabilization of condition
d. Expeditious extraction and shifting to rescue vehicle(s)
e. Speedy transportation to hospital.

The committee believes that in case of major accidents involving hundreds of lives, there is a need for better managerial and technological inputs for the Disaster Management System to function satisfactorily.

Being the multi-departmental emergency function, needing a high degree of precision, speed & coordination, the post accident management leaves some deficiencies and lacunae occasionally. These are corrected and updated periodically.
To ensure that IR’s organized disaster management system is designed such that the victims are retrieved within the “Golden Hour”, it would require ARMVs/ ARTs to be based at each and every station.

The concept of Golden Hour is an ideal one, which cannot be achieved in any disaster / accident unless it occurs in the vicinity of the railway disaster management infrastructure / city / civil / armed forces establishments with adequate medical infrastructure. Therefore, a paradigm shift is now called for. The total approach to the concept of disaster management and the investment decisions thereof need a revamp. The strategy for setting up an effective disaster management system on the railways has to be based upon the twin plank of a stronger and appropriate infrastructure, backed by a well – trained team and
disciplined and dedicated manpower.
The committee notes that a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is being constituted by the Government of India. This authority is expected to coordinate disaster management activities among various departments / ministries. NDMA will work under the over all supervision of Home Secretary. Ministry of
Railways has nominated Addl. Member (Mech. Engg.) as its representative in NDMA.

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