Arlington County Fire Chief James Schwartz addresses the media.
New rescue carts will aid Metro and public safety personnel responding to incidents that occur on the railways. The carts, which are battery-powered, compact, and portable, can be used to help shuttle rescuers and equipment to the scene of an incident and transport people who are unable to walk out of an incident area.
The Mobile Emergency Response Vehicles (MERVs) run on rail tracks up to 10 mph. They can turn what could be a 45 minute walk for firefighters loaded with gear into a four minute ride.
From the WMATA press release:
MERVs were used by the London Fire Brigade in response to the terrorist attack on London transit in 2005. Members of the Council of Government’s Fire Chiefs Passenger Rail Safety Subcommittee saw the motorized rescue carts at a conference designed to evaluate lessons learned in London. The group obtained a prototype of the MERV in 2008 and recommended modifications. The MERVs currently on site have been customized for the Metrorail system.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiative provided an $860,000 grant to buy 26 MERVs for use in Metrorail tunnels throughout the 106-mile rail system. The grant was obtained by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Fire Chiefs and is managed by the Arlington County Fire Department.
For a three and a half minute video of the cart demonstration, click here.