Dehydration in the ICE: One affected person reports



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Dehydration in the ICE: A victim who was on a broken train of the Deutsche Bahn reports.

(07/12/2010) Chaotic and life-threatening scenes played out on numerous Deutsche Bahn trains last weekend. Many passengers suffered a heat shock and became dehydrated because the air conditioning systems in at least three ICE trains failed. Dehydration can be triggered by enormous heat and leads to internal dehydration of the body. Symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heartbeat, weakness, nausea and vomiting, fear and profuse sweating occur. In the worst case, sufferers suffer a cardiovascular collapse and fainting. Older people and children in particular are particularly at risk in such situations. Nina Dehmlow (30) and her two-year-old daughter were traveling with such a defective ICE train last Sunday and reported in an interview with Heilpraxisnet.de about the conditions on site.

Heilpraxisnet: Ms. Dehmlow, when did you drive with the defective ICE? How much time did you have to spend on the train? I took the train on Sunday, from Berlin to Hanover and back again. Fortunately, the route is not that long, about two hours.

Can you estimate how high the temperatures were on the train? Well, I didn't have a thermometer with me, but when I got off the train in Hanover, I thought “Is it nice and cool here” and it was around 38 degrees. So I guess it was already around 50 degrees. The bad thing was that you couldn't get fresh air. The ICEs have no windows that can be opened, the air exchange takes place via the air conditioning system.

How did you feel Did you have any physical symptoms? It was uncomfortable, I was very hot. In the meantime I had the feeling that I could not breathe and would probably have collapsed. But then I took a liter of water within a very short time, that helped.

Did you see how other passengers reacted to the extremely high temperatures? Well, they reacted like I did, at some point you had the feeling that you couldn't breathe. At that point you have to try to stay calm and drink a lot. But there were also small children, or an infant, who already suffered a lot. It was probably the worst for old people and small children.

Did passengers complain? How did the train attendants react to this? There were already complaints, the train attendants also understood and distributed water. Had they not done so, it would certainly have caused circulatory problems for the passengers. But we were not told how best to deal with the heat now. We were also not evacuated in cars in which the air conditioning was still working. On the way back, however, the train attendant told us that we can go to first class with our two-year-old daughter. The air conditioning also worked.

Did you receive compensation from the train?
We were all given water, we were not offered a refund of the fare. Overall, the train attendants tried hard, but I think that they will not receive any training on how to behave in an emergency. The failure of an air conditioning system in an ICE is definitely an emergency and the journey should not have continued. Or the people should have been distributed among the cars in which the air conditioning was still working. In any case, Deutsche Bahn must train its staff accordingly and set up rules of conduct. I think the reason for the breakdown of the air conditioning systems is a lack of maintenance of the trains in order to generate higher profits. Summer does not suddenly come from the sky and you have to expect such temperatures and maintain and equip your trains accordingly. But that didn't work in winter either. (sb)

Also read:
Defective ICE air conditioning: what travelers can do

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