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August 26, 2007


The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) today hosted a multi-agency field exercise designed to test the City’s response to a weapons of mass destruction incident on a rail line. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP), the exercise was staged at Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan.

The Penn Station exercise is part of the City's continuing efforts to test and refine its preparedness plans and emergency response protocols, as well as to strengthen coordination between emergency responders at the City, state and federal levels.

Coordinated by OEM, the four hour drill began with a mock explosion aboard an Amtrak train. As the scenario unfolded, members of the New York City Fire and Police Departments, as well as the MTA and Amtrak Police Departments, were deployed to the scene to initiate rescue operations. Rescuers were challenged to triage and treat the injured, direct firefighting operations and identify potential secondary devices, among other issues. Over 300 emergency responders participated in the Penn Station exercise.
Designed to test the City’s response to a terrorist attack in a transportation setting, the Penn Station exercise examined interagency coordination in accordance with the Citywide Incident Management Systems (CIMS) protocol and responders’ ability to rescue, treat, and track casualties. The integration of federal, state and regional assets, interoperable communications capabilities and public safety response were also evaluated.

The exercise was planned in conjunction with partners including:

* Federal Bureau of Investigation
* MTA Long Island Rail Road
* MTA Police Department
* New Jersey Transit
* NYC Office of Emergency Management
* NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
* NYC Police Department
* NYC Fire Department 
* Port Authority of NY and NJ
* US Department of Homeland Security

City officials will evaluate the objectives of this exercise and study the response and decisions made by the participants for future training in New York City and in other jurisdictions.

OEM is currently planning future tabletop and field exercises. Funding for these drills, as well as for the Penn Station exercise, is provided by a federal grant through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The City is grateful for DHS’ continued support of such efforts to ensure New Yorkers’ safety.


CONTACT: Andrew Troisi   (718) 422-4888