MBTA opens new emergency training facility in South Boston

The MBTA opened its Emergency Training Center in South Boston Wednesday. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
The MBTA opened its Emergency Training Center in South Boston Wednesday.
PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Transit officials said Wednesday that the Boston Marathon bombings showed the need for a new emergency training center that will soon prepare T workers and first responders to handle crises.

“Forty-five days after the marathon bombings, if anyone thought that this was a luxury, that this (facility) wasn’t necessary…” said MassDOT Secretary Rich Davis, implying a need for preparation.

The South Boston facility includes Blue and Green Line trains and a bus. In an effort to truly simulate realistic conditions, the vehicles have working lights, doors, and radios, and the station is outfitted with audio that recreates the sounds of ordinary platform chatter as well as gunshots, explosions and pandemonium. Even the trash barrels emit fake smoke.

Some of the drills that will be undertaken include fires, derailments and other situations where passengers would have to be evacuated, such as bio-terror.
The training space is built in a 100-year-old tunnel that went out of use around 1920, according to transit officials.

Until now, employees have had to close down stations or work off hours to conduct emergency training, but the new Foundry Street facility will let them train on a daily basis without disrupting service.

“Not only is this going to be an asset for Boston but we will open it up to all partners in first response here in New England and beyond. We hope we never have to use that raining but we always have to be prepared,” Davey said.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



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