Nebraska Operation Lifesaver is the state branch of Operation Lifesaver, Inc. Operation Lifesaver’s mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provide free presentations on rail safety, including many here in Nebraska.
History of Operation Lifesaver
Operation Lifesaver started in Idaho in 1972, when the national average of highway-rail grade crossings exceeded 12,000 annually. A six-week public awareness campaign called “Operation Lifesaver” was sponsored by Governor Cecil Andrus, Idaho Peace Officers and Union Pacific Railroad as a one-time, one-state initiative.
During the campaign’s first year, Idaho’s crossing-related fatalities dropped by 43 percent. The following year the Operation Lifesaver campaign spread to Nebraska, where the collision rate was reduced by 26 percent. Kansas and Georgia experienced similar success in 1974.
Between 1978 and 1986, while Operation Lifesaver operated under the auspices of the National Safety Council, all 48 continental states started independent Operation Lifesaver programs. In 1986, Operation Lifesaver was incorporated as a national, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational organization.
Today, Operation Lifesaver programs are active in 49 states, the District of Columbia and even internationally. Programs have been established in Canada, England, Mexico, Australia and Estonia.