As part of the City's continuing efforts to test and refine its emergency
preparedness plans and response protocols, OEM hosted Operation United Response,
a major multi-agency field exercise, at Shea Stadium on March 14, 2004.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office for Domestic
Preparedness (ODP), United Response focused on the City's initial response
actions to a weapons of mass destruction attack, and marked New York City's
largest field drill, with more than 1,000 emergency responders and hospital
staff, and 1,000 volunteers acting as victims.
As the scenario unfolded, drill "players," working from various locations
around the City, initiated response operations, and evaluators reviewed player
actions to measure how well they met objectives set forth by exercise planners.
"Controllers," who planned and managed exercise play, acted in the roles of
response officials, provided key data to players, and worked to ensure exercise
scenario: An explosion occurs at Shea Stadium, resulting in more
than 200 casualties. Fans rush to exit the stadium, and rescuers must contend
with scores of evacuees in their attempts to reach the victims. Meanwhile, law
enforcement teams find two additional devices in the parking lot that register
abnormal radiation levels.
The exercise: Drawing
participants from more than 100 agencies and organizations, United Response was
designed specifically to test rescue, casualty management, law enforcement,
hospital, telecommunications, environmental, and public information response to
an incident in a large, public venue.
United Response's objectives were to assess the following:
Interaction between facility operations personnel and local responders,
including transition from internal facility response to external emergency
Procedures to request, receive, and integrate response assets from
Interagency coordination among personnel
Responders' ability to rescue, treat, and track casualties in a mass
Responders' ability to protect the public from the effects of a WMD attack
Public information personnel's ability to coordinate information for
release to the public
Procedures to ensure perimeter security/crime scene preservation
Following the mock
explosion, Fire Department (FDNY), Police Department (NYPD), and other first
responders were deployed to the scene to initiate response operations. Agencies
leading rescue, casualty management, and law enforcement operations were
challenged to set up triage; free victims from the debris; coordinate the mass
evacuation; and secure traffic, mass transportation and pedestrian control,
among other objectives.
Meanwhile, environmental responders from the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) sampled air to determine if any chemical or radiological agent
was released, and FDNY HazMat monitored area conditions in the parking lot. More
than 50 area hospitals, many of which received "patients" transported from Shea
Stadium, worked to treat and track casualties, and follow protocols for a WMD
Communications teams from the Department of Information Technology and
Telecommunication, (DoITT), were on scene to support Nextel and 800MHz radio
service, while OEM's Watch Command tracked and monitored radio communications
and made appropriate notifications.
On scene and in the OEM press office, public information officers collected
information about the incident, assessed public information needs, and worked to
develop a message to disseminate to the public via the press, 311 and
The aftermath: Following the
exercise, participants gathered for "debriefing" sessions, in which players,
evaluators and controllers reviewed the scenario sequence of events and drill
objectives. Smaller functional groups compiled after-action reports, which City
agencies and participating organziations will draw on to amend and improve