Commuter Safety

Planning for Emergencies Everywhere

Emergencies can occur quickly and without warning, so planning is a crucial first step toward a calm and effective response. The American Red Cross has worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Transit Administration and the American Public Transit Association to develop information to help you prepare for emergencies that arise during your commute.


Make a plan for how your family will stay in contact if separated by an emergency:
  • Make sure people close to you know how to reach you and you know how to reach them.
  • Designate an out-of-town friend or relative to be the contact point for your family. In an emergency, it may be easier to call long distance as local phone lines may become overloaded.
  • Write down your emergency contact information and encourage each member of your family to do the same. Keep it current and keep it with you. Information may include:
  • Your transit system telephone number and Web site address

    Local transit police (non-emergency)

    -̶ Local transit police emergency number

    ̶Your local American Red Cross chapter telephone number and Web side address

    ̶Your emergency phone number

    ̶Family emergency phone numbers

    ̶ An out-of-town contact – name and phone number

    ̶Your family emergency meeting place

  • Take time now to learn alternate routes and ways to get where you need to go. There are often multiple ways to reach a destination.

Prepare and Practice

Ask your employer if there is an emergency plan for your workplace and incorporate it into your personal plan. Occasionally review, update and practice your preparedness plans.

While commuting, carry with you a small flashlight, dust mask and a pair of protective gloves. The Red Cross Safety Tube is also recommended. Keep a local map with you in case you need to walk or take another form of transportation.


  • On a Train: If the train stops, follow the operator's instructions quickly and calmly. In an extreme emergency when you must evacuate the train without the operator's assistance, follow posted emergency procedures.
  • On a Station Platform: Familiarize yourself with all the exits at the stations that you use in case you ever have to take a different exit. Listen for announcements and follow instructions quickly and calmly.
  • On a Bus: Follow the bus operator's instructions. Emergency exit procedures are listed on windows, ceiling escape hatches and on doors.

For More Information

For more information,contact your local transit authority or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.