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PR- 058-04
March 15, 2004


Field Exercise Designed to Evaluate the City’s Response to a Weapons of Mass Destruction Attack

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno for a major multi-agency field exercise designed to test New York City’s response to a weapons of mass destruction attack. The exercise, Operation United Response, the largest held in New York City, was administered by OEM, and conducted in cooperation with the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP), the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), the Emergency Medical Service (EMS), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Buildings (DOB), the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), American Red Cross of Greater New York, Con Edison, Federal Bureau of Investigation, KeySpan, Regional Emergency Medical Services Organization and the Salvation Army and the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA).  Operation United Response was staged at Shea Stadium in Queens in cooperation with the New York Mets.

“Our emergency service agencies, public hospital system and our partners in State and Federal Government are constantly working to keep New Yorkers safe and prepared for any emergency – great or small,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Operation United Response gives us an opportunity to evaluate emergency management procedures, the use of newly issued anti-terrorism equipment, and how responders deal with a major terrorist threat while minimizing risks to themselves and others.”

“While we hope a scenario of this nature will never occur in New York City, it is vitally important that the City’s public safety and emergency response personnel are trained to deal with this type of event,” said Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno. “In addition, United Response was a good test of the City’s emergency response capabilities. We’re grateful to the Mets for allowing us to use Shea Stadium to stage this drill.”
Operation United Response is part of the City’s continuing efforts to test and refine its preparedness plans and emergency response protocols.  Coordinated by OEM, the four-hour, real-time drill began with a mock explosion at Shea Stadium. Participants included more than 1,000 emergency responders and hospital staff, and 1,000 volunteers acting as victims. As the scenario unfolded, Fire, Police, Emergency Medical Service, and other rescue and law enforcement teams were deployed to the scene to initiate rescue and response operations.  Rescuers were challenged to assist the “walking wounded,” free victims trapped in the debris, and contend with thousands of exiting spectators. More than 60 public and private area hospitals also took part in the exercise.

“We were happy to cooperate with the Mayor, the Office of Emergency Management, the other City agencies and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on this exercise to ensure the City’s preparedness to handle an emergency in our community,” said Jeff Wilpon, Mets’ Sr. EVP & Chief Operating Officer.  “This operation also gave the Mets organization a rare opportunity to work with and learn from the nations’ leading experts on security matters.  It has always been our priority to ensure that Shea Stadium is a safe and enjoyable facility for our fans and customers.”
City officials and Department of Homeland Security representatives will evaluate the exercise and study the response and decisions made by the participants for future weapons of mass destruction training in other jurisdictions. OEM is currently planning future tabletop discussions and field exercises. Funding for these drills, as well as Operation United Response, is provided by a federal grant through Department of Homeland Security.

The following ambulance organizations assisted in today’s exercise:  Central Park Medical Unit, Corona Volunteer Ambulance, Hatzolah Ambulance, Long Island College Hospital, Medical Express, Lifeline Ambulance, Metro Care, Midwood Ambulance, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center.

This is the fifth simulation Mayor Bloomberg has taken part in.  Previously the Mayor participated in Operation United Strength, Operation Sandbox, Operation Bio-watch and Operation Winter Sun. 


Jordan Barowitz / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Jarrod Bernstein   (OEM)
(718) 422-4888

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