Metro to host series of emergency response exercises
Drills to test regional response to Metro-related incidents
A series of three emergency response exercises involving simulations of explosions and simulated gunfire in the Metro system will take place this month, and will enable Metro and its regional partners to test and practice the multi-jurisdictional coordination and response needed to mitigate such incidents.
The exercises, scheduled for Feb. 12, 13 and 24, will bring together participants from local law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services departments, federal agencies and multiple departments within Metro. The tactical drills and subsequent tabletop exercise will help reinforce the region’s strategy for responding to a Metro-related incident.
“Metro provides an essential service in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, and ensuring the safety and security of our riders and employees while keeping our trains and buses running smoothly is at the heart of our mission,” said Metro Transit Police Acting Chief Jeff Delinski.
“It’s an unfortunate reality that we face the unknown risks, either natural or manmade. Metro and area emergency responders need to be prepared to respond to any form of terrorist attack or other crisis that would impact Metro’s ability to provide essential transportation services in the National Capital Region. It’s critical to have the support and coordination of local and federal agencies that would simultaneously respond to a large-scale crisis occurring on Metro,” Delinski said.
Metro and its regional partners designed three tactical exercises to test and practice each agency’s respective roles and responsibilities. The first drill takes place on Friday, Feb. 12, in the parking lot at RFK Stadium. The scenario simulates an explosion on a Metrobus and an explosive found on a second Metrobus. The second exercise on Saturday, Feb. 13, entails an explosion on a Metrorail train in the tunnel between the Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom-GWU Metrorail stations. The final tactical drill takes place Wednesday, Feb. 24, where active shooters are reported at the Friendship Heights Metrorail station.
External agencies participating in exercises include police, fire and emergency medical services departments from Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, Washington, D.C., Fairfax County, Prince Georges’ County, Montgomery County, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Capital Area American Red Cross. Metro’s Office of Emergency Management has been coordinating with participants from the transit agency, including the Transit Police, Safety, Metrobus and Metrorail departments.
“We’ve brought together a great team of partners from throughout Metro and the region on this important initiative,” said Metro Director of Emergency Management Peter LaPorte. “It’s important for us to practice and test what we would do in an emergency situation, build on best practices and what works, and find solutions to things we can do better.”
The tactical exercises will be followed by two tabletop drills with emergency managers and senior leadership executives.
The emergency response exercises are funded through a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiative grant. The grant was obtained by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Fire Chiefs and is managed by the Arlington County Fire Department.
Media contact for this news release: Cathy Asato or Steven Taubenkibel at 202-962-1051.
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News release issued at 11:25 am, February 1, 2010.