Wickford Junction holds mass casualty exercise
NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. —
Waiting for a train on a Saturday morning, but things quickly take a turn.
Police question passengers about a suspicious vehicle, illegally parked and then an arrest. It all unfolds as a terror threat here at the Wickford Junction train station, where Amtrak, the Providence EMA and other local state and federal agencies come together to train.
NBC 10 spoke with Peter Gaynor, Providence Emergency Management Agency, who explained the scenario that was in play, "we have two terrorists on board that have taken hostages and conductors under their control."
Volunteers here there posing as the passengers, and some really got into their roles, "let me stay where I am with group of people I've bonded with so if we go down, we go down together."
While this drill focuses on a terror attack, Amtrak says this kind of training can help in any emergency involving rail service.
Most recently we saw Amtrak service disrupted when two Metro North commuter trains collided in Connecticut.
Steve Pugsley, Amtrak, spoke with NBC 10 about the training exercise, "everything we do here will prepare you for things like derailments, train accidents, things like that, like we had incidents in the last couple of years in Metro North territory, that's what we have to do"
In this scenario the train is heading from Wickford to Providence, with terrorists on board. The goal is to try to coordinate where that train stops or doesn't stop, and to make sure it can be resolved successfully; all of which is part of the scenario.
Plans that started out on paper, and have now played out in a scenario that had participating agencies climbing all aboard.