Emergency response exercises simulate explosions on Metrorail and Metrobus
Drills to test regional response to Metro-related incidents
|MTPD's explosives ordnance detection team participated in the drills.|
Metro and its regional partners will participate in two emergency response exercises involving simulated explosions on Metrorail and Metrobus March 28 and 29 to test and practice the multi-jurisdictional coordination and response needed to mitigate such incidents.
The first exercise takes place at 1 a.m., Sunday, March 28, and will simulate an explosion on a rail car in the tunnel between the Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom Metrorail stations. As part of the drill, emergency personnel will be responding to the incident to find a scene representative of hundreds of injured passengers and multiple fatalities. Metro operations, emergency management and police personnel will respond along with police, fire and emergency medical services personnel from Arlington County, the District of Columbia, City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The exercise is taking place after midnight when ridership is lighter and fewer passengers will be impacted by the emergency response activity. The Rosslyn Metrorail station will remain open throughout the drill, closing at its regular time shortly after 3 a.m. From 11 p.m. to closing, Blue Line trains will share one track between the Foggy Bottom-GWU and Arlington Cemetery Metrorail stations, and Orange Line trains will share one track between the Foggy Bottom-GWU and Court House Metrorail stations. Passengers using the Rosslyn Metrorail station and residents in the area should expect to see numerous police, fire and emergency response vehicles, first responders and volunteer “victims” near the station between 11 p.m. Saturday, March 27, and 5 a.m. Sunday, March 28.
A second exercise is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, March 29, at the RFK Stadium parking lot. This drill simulates an explosion on a Metrobus with multiple passengers injured, discovery of a second explosive found on a bus in a garage, and phone call stating that additional explosive devices have been placed on other buses. The Metro Transit Police Department explosives ordnance detection team will respond, along with the police, fire and emergency medical services personnel from the District of Columbia, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Residents in the area of RFK Stadium and the Stadium-Armory Metrorail station should expect to see numerous police, fire and emergency response vehicles, first responders and volunteer “victims,” and may hear a loud noise in the area between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The drills will test the integrated response and incident coordination of the Metro emergency management, police and operations personnel, along with local and federal law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services agencies throughout the region. As multiple agencies would respond simultaneously to a large-scale crisis occurring on Metro, the transit agency, and local and federal area emergency responders need to be ready to work together to mitigate an incident.
Metro and its regional partners designed three tactical exercises to test and practice each agency’s respective roles and responsibilities. The first tactical drill took place Wednesday, Feb. 24, and tested the coordinated response to a report of an ongoing shooting at the Friendship Heights Metrorail station. The tactical exercises will be followed by two tabletop drills with emergency managers and senior executives.
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 within the transit agency, including the Transit Police, Safety, Metrobus and Metrorail departments.
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.
News release issued at 1:58 pm, March 22, 2010.