Major air, rail, road, and maritime accidents are similar in that they generally involve fast moving vehicles carrying many people or large quantities of goods and substances that can cause direct or indirect damage to the public and the environment surrounding the site of the accident. The effects of these accidents are multiplied when several of the same, or different, types of vehicles or means of transport are involved or when vehicles hit buildings or installations sheltering people or containing substances that are dangerous to man and the environment (villages, stations, airports, warehouses etc.).
Preventive and protective measures
In view of the different means or systems of transport, and hence the conditions and circumstances in which an accident may occur, it is often impossible to ensure the protection and immediate rescue of the crew and passengers at risk. Consequently, priority must be given to prevention and then to speed in search and rescue operations.
To this end the organisation of traffic surveillance and warning systems, as well as the establishment of emergency or specialised rescue plans covering different potential risks which cannot be localised beforehand, must, as far as possible, be prepared in advance by the security services of transport companies, in collaboration with the local, regional and national authorities and intervening bodies.