Our Washington DC Metro Accident lawyers continue to watch as details surrounding last month’s deadly Metro smoke accident come to light. The DC Council convened to discuss the city’s emergency preparedness. It was revealed that the main issues affecting DC Fire & EMS emergency response on January 12 stemmed from improper radio function and a lack of first-responder training.
The January 12 accident– during which smoke filled multiple metro rail cars on the yellow line– left one woman dead and more than 80 passengers hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Some passengers waited over 40 minutes to be rescued. Kenneth Lyons, President of the DC EMS workers union, cited poor radio signals as a factor in the slow response time. Lyons stated that radios do not work well in the Metro tunnels, and one would fare better using a cell phone. Ed Smith, president of the DC Firefighters’ Association, added that emergency radio services are poor throughout the city, not just in the Metro. Like many, our Washington DC Metro accident lawyers found this information unsettling.
Additionally, concerns were raised around DC firefighters and EMS workers’ training and aptitude as first-responders to emergencies. During the DC Council hearing, it was revealed that, within the Metro system, DC fire and EMS services ranked last in first-responder training. Only 100 DC firefighters and EMTs have undergone such training, compared with 146 in Prince George’s County, 250 in Arlington County, 435 in Montgomery County, and 745 in Fairfax County.
Washington DC Metro accident lawyer Kim Brooks-Rodney is familiar with similar incidents, having represented several accident victims in the 2009 crash. Ms. Brooks-Rodney, of Cohen & Cohen, expressed hope that the judicial process would provide answers surrounding the tragedy, and lead to a safer public transportation system for all. Interim Metro General Manager Jack Requa, however, insists that Metro is safe and encourages Washingtonians to continue riding Metro, as he does regularly.
Like many Washingtonians, the personal injury lawyers at Cohen & Cohen are seeking insights into this tragedy and hope to see justice for the Metro smoke accident victims. While we sincerely hope similar incidents do not occur in the future, we also hope for a more functional radio-response system, and a better-coordinated rescue effort, should there be another accident in the future.
If you or a loved one was involved in this horrible accident, and have questions around compensation or medical care, you may reach out to our Washington DC metro accident attorneys for a free consultation.