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‘Urban Shield’ Drill To Test Boston’s Emergency Response

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BOSTON (CBS) — This weekend a hospital will be evacuated, and a gunman will be on the streets, but none of it will be real.

It’s all part of the largest emergency training drill ever held in the Boston area. Officials want people to know about this drill so they won’t worry when they see first responders and emergency vehicles in action. The drill is critical training, an exercise called Urban Shield Boston.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports

 

WBZ NewsRadio 1030

WBZ NewsRadio 1030

It’s going to look frightening because it’s supposed to feel real. This is the 3rd time Urban Shield training has been held here. It started in 2011, repeated in 2012, but then in 2013 emergency responders had the real thing to contend with when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Lessons learned from that tragedy will be used in this weekend’s training.

“Since the 2013 Boston Marathon we’ve learned a lot about our resiliency as a community and the professionalism of our first responders. This initiative has a lot to do with that,” says Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Starting on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. and continuing for 24 hours, more than 2,000 emergency personnel in Boston and surrounding communities will be tested and stressed by a dozen emergency simulations including a terrorist attack, a building collapse, a hostage taking, an active shooter and a bomb planted on the transit system.

“This is all about partnerships and cooperation and being proactive so if something happens we’re all on the same page,” says Boston Police Commissioner William Evans. “When these drills are over we expect to learn lessons that work and uncover problems we need to fix, but in the end, we’ll have a Boston that stands even stronger against future attacks,” adds Chief James Hooley of Boston Emergency Medical Services.

Again, you may see cruisers, firefighters and activity that looks like an urgent response to an emergency on Saturday into Sunday not just in Boston, but in Brookline, Cambridge and other communities as well. It’s all part of the “Urban Shield” drill.

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