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Boston Area Holds Large Terror Drills As Part Of Urban Shield Training Program

By Alana Gomez, WBZ-TV
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Police carry out emergency scenarios as part of Urban Shield, May 21, 2011.

Police carry out emergency scenarios as part of Urban Shield, May 21, 2011.

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BOSTON (CBS) – The scenarios are fakes, but the response is real.

Terrorists hijack a boat in Winthrop. Firefighters search for victims in a Quincy building collapse. A bomb squad diffuses an explosive in Chelsea.

All of the simulations are part of an innovative training program called Urban Shield. A grant from the Department of Homeland Security makes the elaborate setups possible.

WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports

“Ten years after 9/11 and this is the first major exercise that we’ve had so that’s one of the reasons were doing it,” said Thomas Lee, a deputy with Boston Police Department.

The day of drills held on Saturday brought together emergency response teams from the region and even as far as California. Police, firefighters, and EMS personnel worked together to go through several different crisis situations.

The teams are timed and evaluated on their procedures and efficiency.

In one task, SWAT teams stormed a boat at Winthrop Public Landing. They were told that a group of terrorists attacked the ship and took hostages.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Other simulations included a gunmen running loose at the Boston Copley Marriott Place, a terrorist seizure of a control room in Everett, and an explosive device at Quincy High School.

The last scheduled event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. was to be modeled after the terror attacks in Mumbai at the Boston Marine Industrial Park.

Actors would pose as terrorists and victims while special effects teams set off fake gunshots and explosions.

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