Do not be alarmed on Saturday if you hear gunfire around the Greater Boston area - it will be due to Urban Shield, a 24-hour training exercise for area public safety organizations.
Actually, you can be thankful that the Boston Police, Fire, and EMS, the Metro-Boston Homeland Security Region, MBTA Transit Police, and more, are practicing in case of a large-scale emergencies such as an attack occurrs. Eight area Boston hospitals are also participating in the drill.
Urban Shield: Boston, which is grant-funded through the Urban Area Security Initiative, will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, go all night and into the next morning in several large-scale simulated public safety incidents, ending at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
The following locations will host exercises:
- USS Salem (Quincy) for “maritime interdiction”
- The former B-2 Police Station (Boston) for simulated SWAT exercises (fenced-off area of station grounds only)
- The former Circle Cinemas (Brookline) for a simulated bank robbery and hostage situation
- Bowdoin MBTA Station (Boston) for a simulated HazMat incident
- Boston Harbor Anchorage #1 (Boston) for simulated maritime operations and a ferry boat HazMat scenario
- UMass Boston Campus (Boston) for a culminating exercise involving all agencies and a variety of exercises.
- Eight hospitals throughout Boston for simulation of HazMat decontaminations, management of simulated victims, and activation of a Medical Intelligence Center.
Along with Boston's public safety organizations, other organizations including the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals and the US Coast Guard are participating in the drill (see the full list of participating organizations below).
The simulations are going to be run multiple times to assess the team’s ability to successfully respond to, and manage, public safety events and other emergencies occurring simultaneously throughout the Boston area.
“Training is vital for our first responders. They are on the frontlines when an emergency occurs, and we want them trained in the best ways possible to handle any situation,” said Mayor Thomas Menino via press release. “Urban Shield: Boston displays the steps the metro-Boston region takes to prepare for all-hazards and sets a national example for cities around the country to create a coordinated full-scale training exercise.”
The following agencies participating include UASI Boston Communities such Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, Winthrop, Revere, Quincy, Everett, and Chelsea and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) units from:
- Boston Police Department
- Brookline Police Department
- Cambridge Police Department
- Revere Police Department
- Northeastern Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC)
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Association (MBTA) Transit Police Department
- Massachusetts State Police
- Middlesex County Police Department
- Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council
- Manchester, NH Police Department