Enhanced Training Focuses on Subway Response

The subway training car presents hazards that responders may encounter when responding to a mass casualty incident associated with public transportation systems


The Center for Domestic Preparedness has many enhanced training venues that support its commitment to provide critical and relevant training in specialized emergency response to modern threats.

A mass-casualty incident on a bus, subway, streetcar or other modes of public transportation is one such threat. The confined space, limited visibility, concentrated victims and unique supporting facilities associated with these transportation systems present responders with a complex and challenging situation and environment. Add toxic chemicals, biologic agents or explosives and that environment becomes a nightmare. The opportunity for responders to learn and practice the skills and techniques associated with these very unique threats and demanding situations can help ensure the safety of responders and the quick and effective response to recover victims.

The CDP has established a subway as part of its newest training venue. The subway features four full-size cars complete with lighting, smoke, seating, video capability, and even realistic commercial signage that is common in subways. One car is structurally damaged and contains debris and hazards associated with a tunnel collapse. Another car shows the blast and other damage from the detonation of an improvised explosive device.

“We created the subway system based on the actual size of passenger transportation systems found in the United States,” says Chuck Medley, CDP branch chief for training management. “It provides us an opportunity to present hazards that responders may encounter when responding to a mass
casualty incident associated with public transportation systems. In addition to the tunnel collapse and explosion, we can also simulate potential chemical and biological threats.”

During training, emergency responders have the opportunity to enter one car breached by falling concrete and threatened by simulated electrical hazards, and given the task of properly triaging survivors and transporting them to the appropriate medical personnel. They will also be required to
find the source of any contamination that may be present and mitigate that threat so law enforcement, rescue, and emergency medical services can assist survivors.

“The CDP develops training based on potential threats, and the threat to our cities’ public transportation systems is real. This venue, while simulating a subway, also replicates the complexity of response to other public transportation modes including busses, trains, and even street cars” says Medley. “This training will increase the edge for emergency responders to successfully respond.”

Many cities in the United States operate public transportation systems like subways and their citizens are dependent on them being safe. The CDP’s new “subway” provides a convincing scene that supports the realistic and complex training necessary to determine the appropriate actions and
execute the safe and effective response by emergency responders.

The CDP is FEMA’s premier all-hazards training facility in Anniston, Ala. The CDP develops and delivers advanced training for emergency response providers, emergency managers, and other government officials from state, local, and tribal governments. The training focuses on incident management, mass casualty response, and emergency response to a catastrophic natural or man-made disaster.

The CDP offers the only program in the nation featuring emergency response training exercises using chemical agents and biological materials. The CDP also operates the only hospital facility in the United States dedicated solely to preparing the healthcare, public health, and environmental health communities for mass casualty events related to terrorism or natural disasters.

Training at the CDP campus is federally funded at no cost to state, local, and tribal emergency response professionals or their agency. For more information or to register for CDP specialized programs or courses, visit http://cdp.dhs.gov.

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