FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT HOLD OPERATION TRANSIT SAFE
Field Exercise Designed to Evaluate the City's Response to a Terrorist Attack in the Subway System
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) for Operation Transit Safe, a major multi-agency field exercise designed to test the City's response to an explosion in the subway system. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP), Operation Transit Safe was staged at the Bowling Green subway station in lower Manhattan in cooperation with MTA/New York City Transit. Operation Transit Safe is part of the City's continuing efforts to test and refine its preparedness plans and emergency response protocols.
"Operation Transit Safe gives us an opportunity to evaluate our emergency management procedures and how responders would deal with a terrorist attack in our subway system," said Mayor Bloomberg. "With more than 7 million people traveling on our subways and buses every day, it is essential that we are prepared for any emergency in the mass transit system. I would like to thank the more than twenty-one City, State, Federal and private partners and the hundreds of volunteers who participated in this important operation to ensure that New York City remains the safest big City in America."
"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 OEM Commissioner, Joseph F. Bruno. "While not in response to a specific threat or warning, Operation Transit Safe is an important step in having training take place in as real of an environment as possible."
"Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our customers and employees," said MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow. "We are pleased to work with OEM on this important drill that will enhance levels of training, response and interagency cooperation."
"Operation Transit Safe is part of the Department of Homeland Security's continuing efforts to work with state and local jurisdictions to achieve our common goal of a better prepared America," stated C. Suzanne Mencer, Director of the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Domestic Preparedness.
Coordinated by OEM, the four-hour, real-time drill began with a mock explosion at the Bowling Green subway station in lower Manhattan. Participants included more than 500 emergency responders and MTA staff, and 200 volunteers acting as victims. As the scenario unfolded, FDNY, NYPD, EMS, 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 hundreds of exiting passengers, among other issues.
Operation Transit Safe examined interagency coordination, responders' ability to rescue, treat, and track casualties, and the City's ability to protect the public. It was planned in conjunction with the following partners and City agencies:
In addition to City officials and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Operation Transit Safe observers included representatives from the United Nations, the Secret Service, and the New York State Emergency Management Office.
City officials and DHS representatives will also evaluate the objectives of this exercise and study the response and decisions made by the participants for future WMD training in other jurisdictions. OEM is currently planning future tabletop and field exercises. Funding for these drills, as well as Operation Transit Safe, is provided by a federal grant through DHS. The City is grateful for DHS' continued support of such efforts to ensure New Yorkers' safety.
Edward Skyler/ Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Jarrod Bernstein (OEM) (718) 422-4888
Paul Fleuranges (MTA) (718) 243-3247