Commentary

Safety Underground

New York City subways are plastered with all sorts of warnings about how straphangers should walkââ?¬â??not runââ?¬â??down stairs, but the MTA has not told people what to do in the event of an emergency. A Brooklyn assemblyman is suggesting spreading the word about some simple safety tips: Follow the directions of the train crew in an evacuation. Don’t leave a train unless directed to do so – the electrified third rail is dangerous. Don’t pull the emergency cord if someone becomes ill – it will stop the train and delay medical treatment. New York has endured 9/11 and massive blackouts, and still the MTA has no sensible evacuation plan? It would mean the end to some clever Saturday Night Live sketches, but step one could be fixing the subway’s often-incoherent PA system so riders could actually understand safety announcements.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.