For many Canadians across the country, February 21st is Family Day. Celebrated each year on the third Monday of February, it’s a chance to relax and spend time with loved ones. But if you’re lucky enough to have the day off, why not use the opportunity to have a rail-safety conversation with the people you love?
Every year, dozens of Canadians lose family members as a result of tragedies on railway tracks. Sadly, most of these deaths could be prevented if people followed the rail safety rules—a fact Shannon McGlynn knows all too well.
On Oct 9, 2010, she lost her 22-year-old son Chris in a railway incident. He was killed when he took a shortcut across the tracks on his way home from a night out with friends. Shannon shared her family’s tragic story as part of Operation Lifesaver’s #STOPTrackTragedies
campaign. In the video
she talks about Chris’ death and the pain it has caused her family.
“I really miss him when there is a family holiday. There’s always that empty chair at the table, and always that empty spot in my heart,” says Shannon. “There is not a day that goes by that we don’t miss him and wish that he was here.”
Sadly, the McGlynn family’s story isn’t an isolated one. Over the past decade, more than 1,500 Canadians have been killed or seriously injured due to unsafe behaviour around railway tracks and trains.
Keep the ones you love safe this Family Day—and all year round
Unfortunately, the McGlynn family can’t turn back time, but it’s not too late to ensure your family practices rail safety. So this Family Day, take the time to ensure they know these simple rules:
- Never use tracks as a recreational path, shortcut or play area. Railway tracks are private property―you’re trespassing if you walk on them, and you could be seriously injured or killed if you do.
- Always obey railway signs and signals. Only cross tracks at designated crossings, and slow down, look in both directions, and listen for trains before crossing.
- Don’t walk next to tracks. Trains overhang the tracks by at least a metre on both sides; straps or other equipment may extend even further. If you’re in the right-of-way next to the tracks, you could be hit by a train.
- Never assume tracks are abandoned. Even if train tracks look like they’re not in use, it doesn’t mean they’re inactive. Often, tracks that have been deactivated can be reactivated without warning.
However you’re spending your Family Day, make sure it’s a safe one. For more tips on how to keep safe around railway crossings, tracks, and trains, check out our resource