Emergency and evacuation training makes millions safer on Dutch railways @G4S

10,000 employees of Dutch railway company Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) go through rigorous emergency first aid, fire and evacuation safety training courses every year, tailor-made and delivered by G4S, so they are ready to meet the safety needs of millions of train users every day.

With millions of passengers travelling on trains and through railway stations every day in the Netherlands, the chance that a member of railway staff will have to respond to an emergency situation is high.

Medical emergencies due to sudden illness are most common, but staff need to be prepared for more complex, and even dangerous, situations. A terrorist incident at Amsterdam Centraal Station last August, in which two tourists were stabbed by a man who was quickly shot and stopped by police – all within nine seconds –  highlights what could happen. In one moment railway staff needed to provide emergency medical assistance, support police and safely manage a station evacuation.

For NS, it is essential that their employees know how to respond in a variety of emergency scenarios to keep passengers and themselves safe, so they teamed up with G4S – the Netherland’s leading safety training provider – to design and deliver tailor-made training courses, unique to each job role.

“It’s very difficult to respond to emergencies quickly and correctly if you haven’t had the appropriate training” said Pauline van den Driessche, G4S Training Advisor. “For Nederlandse Spoorwegen, which has thousands of staff carrying out a wide variety of roles on trains, in stations, workshops and offices – each with unique risks –  you can’t offer one style of training to everyone. They have very different needs, so we design each course specifically for the role in question.”

NS is a “large and complex organisation” according to their Emergency Response Coordinator Jacqueline van der Laan. “The size of the assignment, the planning and the complexity of NS as an organisation are all considerable challenges – but G4S has shown that they can handle it” said van der Laan.

Around 10,000 NS employees are trained each year, at different locations across the country. A G4S training advisor spent a long time with various teams to get a clear picture of the training that the different target groups would need, including first aid, fire fighting and evacuation. Some employees also receive further specific training based on G4S’s assessment of their working location.

“The biggest challenge for us at NS had been planning all the courses” said van der Laan. “It is a major task affecting so many people, but now all we have to do is provide a schedule and G4S does the rest. They know our employees, and put forward real-life and relevant examples that they can relate to.”

“We determine the learning objectives ourselves” said Marisha de Jong, Training Manager for NS, “We then give those objectives to G4S who draw up the curriculum, based on the time they have spent with our different teams and their observations. These training courses are very important, because if you do not pass them you are not allowed to start working.”G4S Training Advisor Pauline van den Driessche was always confident that G4S would deliver a successful and effective training programme for NS. “We have a lot of experience in delivering a wide range of tailored training options for organisations of all shapes and sizes. Around 100,000 people a year in the Netherlands benefit from G4S safety training courses, so we know how to identify unique risks and make sure that people get the specific training they need.“