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Boston EMS, MBTA Train to Prevent Bad Situations from Getting Worse

July 25, 2014

Each year, first responders from Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and other public safety agencies respond to a wide variety of medical emergencies and public safety issues on Massachusetts’ largest transportation system, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s subways, buses and stations. 

On Friday, July 25, the MBTA held the final training drill in a series conducted throughout the summer with 40 Boston EMS EMTs and paramedics at the transit agency's new training facility in South Boston. Since June, over 200 members of the force have participated in the exercise. 

“Trainings like this are invaluable to our EMTs and paramedics,” said Boston EMS Chief Jim Hooley. “The safety of the public, MBTA personnel and our own men and women depends on good communication and response coordination. This type of exercise helps us improve in each of those areas.”

Whether it’s a road collision, train derailment or a medical emergency, good coordination and planning among and between various agencies is essential in preventing bad situations from getting worse. These planned and scripted exercises assessed the interagency response and management of emergencies while in a controlled, yet realist tunnel environment.

Randy Clarke, MBTA Director of Emergency Management, elaborated, saying, “'It’s all about preparedness and partnerships. Boston EMS is one of our most important public safety partners and we are very excited they are taking the opportunity to train at our emergency training center.'

The exercise at the MBTA Emergency Training Center provided Boston EMS personnel the opportunity to train in a state-of-the-art facility that is specifically geared to simulate a real-world environment. Participants took part in training involving multiple scenarios and modes of MBTA transportation, including:

  • Operating in tunnel environments, using decommissioned street car tunnels
  • Responses involving heavy and light rail equipment
  • Extrication scenarios
  • Management of Mass Casualty Incidents

The MBTA Emergency Training Center consists of multiple training areas, each dedicated to different transit modes or response functions, including heavy rail, light rail, bus, power, evacuation, and both law enforcement and fire response. Full-size decommissioned bus and rail vehicles and a control room that can simulate advanced audio and visual effects add to the realism of the programs the facility will offer. In addition, all training and exercise audio and video can be recorded for review and analysis in the on-site classrooms.