Indian Railways is gradually replacing locomotive hauled Accident Relief Medical Vans (ARMVs) with Self Propelled Accident Relief Medical Vans (SPARMVs) to improve response during disaster. Specification of high speed Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains (HS-SPARTs) with speed of 160 kmph has been finalized and it is planned to be procured in addition to existing 110 kmph SPART. Further, to improve the capacity during restoration, 175 Tonnes cranes are under procurement which is an upgradation over existing 140 T cranes available with Indian Railways. The concept of golden hour has also been recognised to expedite response time during disaster.
The main areas of focus on disaster management are:-
Better facilities and equipment
Expanding resources to meet requirements in major accidents
Coordination with other agencies of central and state governments
Training and Preparedness
Indian Railways has an organized system of relief for managing accidents with its own resources. It consists of more than 6 thousand trained breakdown staff, 176 Accident Relief Trains (ARTs) and 86 Accident Relief Medical Vans (ARMVs) made using passenger coaches. All Accident Relief Trains and Accident Relief Medical Vans have pre-defined beats, inspection schedules and response time. In addition, there are 90 Break down Cranes of various capacities over Indian Railway system.
All equipments in Accident Relief Trains and Accident Relief Medical Equipments have been standardized based on High Level Committee recommendations. Some of the items being imported for rescue, relief and restoration are as follows:
Medical equipments like Augmented first aid box, body bags, foldable chairs, portable fire extinguishers, operation theatre equipments, etc.
Hydraulic Re-railing equipments (HRE)
Emergency Pneumatic air bags for lifting
Generators & Electrical equipment
Hydraulic rescue device (HRD)
Wire rope sling & shackles
Fire fighting equipments
Abrasive cutting tools
Signaling & communication equipments
Indian Railways also conducts periodic mock drills with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for training and ensuring preparedness during disaster.