Ensuring safety through emergency response training

Published: September 19, 2019 

The summer 2019 station closures were driven by a focus on improving customer safety, and Metro’s Office of Emergency Management used the shutdown time for critical trainings. As communication and safety systems at each station were upgraded, Metro used the time for active collaboration and practical training of first responders from seven major area fire departments, including Alexandria, Arlington County, City of Fairfax, District of Columbia, Fairfax County, Fort Belvoir and Prince George’s County.

More than 850 firefighters underwent emergency response training to prepare for rapid responses across station platforms, inside tunnels, at ground level and on elevated tracks. First responders also received special instruction for navigating Metro’s electrified third rail, converging tunnels and tracks, WSAD (warning strobes and alarm devices) and the evacuation of Metrorail cars.

With the tracks south of Reagan National Airport and the Alexandria Rail Yard closed, OEM was able to place a two-car train that could be used exclusively for first responder training.
Fire training Members of Prince George’s County Fire Department study layout of 7000-series rail car
First responder training First responders practice lifting a 7000-series rail car
First responder training First responders are familiarized with junctions in tunnels
First responder training First responders learn about Warning Strobe Alarm Devices (WSADs)

In addition to the first responder training, Metro renovated the fire safety features throughout the recently reopened stations. The six Blue and Yellow line stations received new sprinklers, fire standpipes and public address systems across the stations. New fire alarms were also installed throughout the mezzanines, canopies and pylons of the renovated stations.