Tuesday 21 April 2020

Netherlands: Extra measures for incident fighter Joëlle

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What does the Covid-19 mean for your daily work? In the series ’Spoorkanjers’ we let people speak who work on the tracks during this difficult time. One such example is Joëlle Steenstra, incident fighter at ProRail. Like her colleagues, she also remains vigilant on the track. There may be fewer passenger trains, but there is always a risk of disruptions or incidents.

“Or more,” says Joëlle. “Perhaps copper thieves now see an opportunity. And there are hikers who want to get a breath of fresh air during their home working day. They think they can do that quietly near the track.” That is of course not the intention, as track runners cause dangerous situations and delays and are therefore in violation.

No longer in duos
Joëlle, who is also an extraordinary investigative officer (boa), continues to fine railway workers and address people who ignore the warning signals at a level crossing. “Usually it is just a warning. Not everyone is aware of the risk and the consequences. ” Things can get high during confrontations and Joëlle wants to prevent that. “Because of the Covid-19 crisis, we no longer supervise in duos and I am on my own. That is fine, but I am more alert. In addition, the walkie-talkie is always on, so that I can request the assistance of colleagues. ”

Maintain Covid-19 rules
Being a boa today means that her range of duties can be expanded. The government has already indicated that it wants to use boas to enforce the Covid-19 rules. “The government wants us to act at gatherings. ProRail is now investigating whether we can comply with that request. ”

More cars to keep your distance
ProRail closely follows the measures imposed by the government at this time, which is why our incident fighters are no longer in a car together. That is why more cars have been arranged. “They do not have our recognisable red-yellow lettering and that is why we call them our under cover cars.” The cars, under cover or not, are thoroughly cleaned inside and out after each shift and only then passed on to colleagues. Joëlle misses those colleagues. “We normally start the day with a cup of coffee. We determine the routes and then set off. Now we leave after a digital consultation from our own home. ”

Face masks for care
As soon as Joëlle steps onto something, she wears gloves and if necessary she has a protective suit that is corona proof . “That is standard part of our cleaning equipment.” She also has mouth masks ready. Recently, ProRail donated half of the national stock of face masks to healthcare institutions.

Mouth to mouth
Like all incident fighters at ProRail, Joëlle is a trained emergency response officer and can provide medical assistance to a certain extent. In an emergency it will ignore the strict RIVM measures. "Necessity knows no law. If someone really needs help and may be injured, of course I offer help. That’s inside me. We have, however, been explicitly instructed not to use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation during resuscitation. ”

Keep away from evacuation
Fortunately, very serious events have not yet occurred, but it has already felt the impact of the measures several times. “We have already helped travelers from a stranded train to an evacuation train a few times. Normally we literally help people. We take them by the arm and lift luggage. Now we keep our distance. That feels crazy. An UCI is by nature a care provider. That’s why you want to do this work. ”

In conclusion, Joëlle says: “I hope that, when this comes to an end, we will continue to look out for our loved ones, healthcare staff and people with other functions that we now applaud for. The virus is not something to be happy about, the solidarity of our society, on the other hand ...”.

(Source: ProRail)

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Railways: Joelle Steenstra, ProRail Incident Response © ProRail