MassTransitMag.com Online Exclusive

IED Responses to Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems Training

Terrorist events involving the use of IEDs or hazardous materials are intended to inflict injury or death and create destruction and disruption of facilities or transportation systems. While effort emphasizing awareness and prevention of IED and Hazmat terrorism has been prevalent, efforts stressing adequate responses must continue to develop and improve if nations are to meet the continuing threats that IEDs and hazardous materials pose to population centers and key operational facilities/systems.

Improvised Explosive Devices Threats

An IED is a "homemade" bomb and/or destructive device to destroy, incapacitate, harass or distract. IEDs are used by criminals, vandals, terrorists, suicide bombers and insurgents. Because they are improvised, IEDs can come in many forms, ranging from a small pipe bomb to a sophisticated device capable of causing massive damage and loss of life. IEDs can be carried or delivered in a vehicle; carried, placed or thrown by a person; delivered in a package; or concealed on the roadside, according to a fact sheet from the National Academies and the Department of Homeland Security.

IED incidents have occurred at multiple locations, such as transit trains and facilities; buses, stations and stops; intercity rail trains and facilities; and other easily accessible and vulnerable transportation systems. Regardless of the venue, the incident requires first responders to immediately react to rescue casualties and protect and prevent against further injury or loss of life. As a result, it is imperative that every first responder and mass transit security employee be specifically and efficiently trained to deal with a post IED incident.

Hazardous Materials Threats

Hazardous materials or Hazmat refers to an item or agent (biological, chemical, physical) which has the potential to cause harm to life, property or the environment. The U.S. Department of Transportation refers to Hazmat as a substance or material which has been determined to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when in commerce and which has been so designated.

Hazardous materials can be harmful for a variety of reasons including flammability, toxicity, reactivity and explosive potential.  When a hazardous materials incident occurs, prompt action by well-trained and properly equipped emergency responders is essential for a positive outcome. They need to be trained to respond in a defensive fashion without actually trying to stop the release. Their function is to contain the release from a safe distance, keep it from spreading and prevent exposures.

Course Training Offerings

America's first responders and mass transit police have an opportunity to enhance their ability to respond to improvised explosive device incidents and Hazmat materials incidents thanks to training being offered by the Joint Interagency Training and Education Center (JITEC) and Homeland Security Programs at West Virginia University (HSP@WVU). They are offering an opportunity for first responders and mass transit police to take part in two brand new FEMA-approved onsite training courses:

  • Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Response on Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems (DOD-007-RESP)
  • A WMD Event: Freight Rail Hazardous Materials Incident Response Involving Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems (DOD-008-RESP)

Both are 3-day courses that include classroom, tabletop and full exercise training that introduces and enhances current skills in IED and Hazmat response.

Training Facility Offers Realistic Experience

The distinctiveness of this training is the 2,800-foot Center of National Response Memorial Tunnel in Gallagher, W.V. The "tunnel" was abandoned by the state in 1987 after it was closed when Interstate 64/77 was built. Since being bypassed, the tunnel has become an unusual testing and training facility. From 1990 to 1997, the Federal Highway Administration extensively modified the tunnel and conducted the Memorial Tunnel Fire Ventilation Test Program. From 1993-1995, fires were set in the tunnel to test ventilation designs for Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel project. In 1997 the tunnel became a storage site for the West Virginia Turnpike.

In 1997 Major General Allen E. Tackett, former adjutant general of West Virginia, envisioned turning this abandoned highway tunnel into a range for military and civilian first responders to train. The U.S. Congress, recognizing the need for additional WMD training, required the Department of Defense to "establish a cost-effective CM/CT facility for military first responders and concurrent testing of response apparatus and equipment at the Memorial Tunnel facility." In 1999, the Department of Defense Consequence Management Program Integration Office initiated planning and development of a training center in the more than 79,000 square feet of the two-lane, 2,800-foot-long highway tunnel to train local, state, federal and military response units.

In May 2000, a 5-phase project began to convert the Memorial Tunnel into the Center for National Response (CNR), an exercise facility for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) consequence management (CM) and counterterrorism (CT). Sets were constructed within the tunnel, including a post-blast rubble area, a subway station, illicit drug laboratories, a confined space training area, and a highway incident scene.

Today, the Center for National Response is managed by the West Virginia National Guard as an element of the Joint Interagency Training and Education Center. The tunnel is ideal for consequence and crisis management emergency response training and provides a realistic environment where emergency response teams can readily practice techniques designed to mitigate the effects of a WMD incident in an underground highway, train or subway tunnel. Additionally, the tunnel provides an excellent base for simulated agent testing; illicit chemical, biological or drug laboratory entry and containment; EOD operations; underground search and rescue; counter terrorist tactics; and hostage rescue training.

Often called the Disneyland for first responders, the Center of National Response Memorial Tunnel is a training venue that offers a realistic disaster setting equipped with subway cars and station and a myriad of conditions including daylight, darkness, wind, flames, smoke and other emergency challenges. The CNR site has more than 10,000 acres of semi-wilderness area that includes a simulated meth lab and two rusty single-engine planes used for crash scenario training.

The Center for National Response (CNR) is uniquely suited as a multipurpose exercise facility. This facility is designed to meet a wide range of weapons of mass destruction consequence management and counterterrorism requirements for the Department of Defense, federal, state and local organizations. The tunnel's physical configuration enhances experience at the individual, unit and multi-organization/agency level. It serves as a valuable asset in preparing both military and civilian response teams to meet future threats and challenges. The tunnel has had a wide range of participants from the US Army Chemical Battalions, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard Civil Support Commands to firemen, police officers, EMTs, mass transit police and healthcare professionals. They have trained under different scenarios including highway accidents, HAZMAT incidents, earthquakes, terrorist bombings and train derailments.

The tunnel is ideal for consequence and crisis management emergency response exercises and provides a realistic environment where emergency response teams can readily practice their techniques in mitigating the effects of an IED and hazmat incident. Project managers at the Memorial Tunnel site include former military, nuclear, biological and chemical experts. The vast base of knowledge provided by these subject matter experts who will help develop, coordinate and facilitate a unique exercise for its participating students. Along with the mock train platform and train, the tunnel also contains a highway pileup, drug labs, a rubble room and a plaster cave built to resemble the mountain hide-outs in Afghanistan.

Courses Provide In-Depth Training

Both the "Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Response on Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems" and "A WMD Event: Freight Rail Hazardous Materials Incident Response Involving Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems" course is designed to provide an environment and venue for first responders and mass transit police to perform operationally and tactically in a scenario-driven exercise under realistic incident conditions involving the employment of an IED and Hazmat on a mass transit or passenger rail system. Scenarios are based on the most current threat assessment available for mass transit and passenger rail systems. Real "actors" will play the part of the injured and "dead" passengers to add a sense of reality to the training and participants will be issued safety gear and equipment and will only need to bring steel-toed boots and work gloves to the training.

Another important aspect of the training is to reacting to the possibility of secondary devices or multiple explosions. A known bomber tactic is to use a distraction, such as gunfire, small bombs or other surprises, to attract bystanders to a window, a doorway or outside, and then to detonate a second destructive device at the gathering point. In an attack, there may be bombings at multiple locations. Rescue efforts can be hampered by the need to respond to more than one site. Participants of the course will learn how to search for and identify multiple IEDs at the disaster site.

The "Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Response on Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems" and "A WMD Event: Freight Rail Hazardous Materials Incident Response Involving Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems"  course also addresses the technical aspects of planning and implementing an Incident Command System to provide command and control over a post IED incident. This is achieved through classroom presentations, hands-on performance-based training, and scenario-based practical/functional exercises.

Course Outlines

The course initiative was a collaborative effort accomplished through coordination between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) and is sponsored by the Joint Interagency Education and Training Center (JITEC).

On training day one of both courses, the participants will have a TSA overview, a mass transit and passenger rail systems overview, and an IED or Hazmat overview. To prepare for the full exercise, the participants will have a scenario briefing and develop an incident action plan.

On training day two, the participants will have a basic review of the incident command systems fundamentals and will learn about LANES training. At that time key leadership roles and the unified command structure will be established. During the LANES Training event — in a realistic environment — the participants will perform hands-on actions involving two critical threat-incident tasks to sustain and improve their first responder skills. They will demonstrate the ability to successfully triage, package and stabilize a victim after an explosion or Hazmat incident. The students will also learn how to accurately recognize and identify examples of IEDs in a realistic setting in the IED course. The Hazmat course will include a "Round Robin" training in areas such as Hazmat management, triage and patient packaging.

A full-scale exercise on training day three will begin with a scenario provided in the exercise management plan.  It will include weather conditions and a scenario based on response to a post IED or Hazmat incident on a mass transit or passenger rail systems. The briefing will be conducted to review the exercise objectives, reinforce the rules of engagement and stress safety. After each training day will be a "hotwash" where participants are encourage to ask questions.

The target audience includes state and local law enforcement, transit first responders, emergency medical services, fire service and hazardous materials personnel and includes 2.8 Continuing Education Credits (CEU's) for the IED course and 2.9 CEU's for the Hazmat course at the completion of the course. Enrollment is offered to both individual responders and organizational teams. Lodging and meals are included in the price of course. Suggested prerequisites for both courses include ICS 100, 200, 300, 700 and 800 and a Hazmat Operators Certification for the Hazmat course. The courses, which currently take place at the CNR Tunnel will soon be available as a mobile course.

Course Objectives Include:

 • Develop and execute an incident action plan (IAP) and direct and coordinate explo­sive device response operations

• Conduct search and on-site assessment, public safety and security response opera­tions, traffic, crowd, and scene control opera­tions, law enforcement operations, and fire operations assessments

• Conduct public information; alert/warning, and notification operations

• Conduct triage and pre-hospital opera­tions, develop a medical transportation plan

• Develop evacuation plans as applicable to event

• Demobilize the on-site incident com­mand

Training Program Credentials

JITEC traces its heritage to the opening of the Center for National Response (CNR) Memorial Tunnel for training in in the year 2000. JITEC's mission is to educate, train and exercise Department of Defense and joint, intergovernmental, interagency, and multi-national spectrum partners/organizations in conjunction with on-going homeland defense operations. JITEC supports civil-military training and education utilizing a cadre of military and civilian subject matter experts for homeland defense and civil support activities This mission has made JITEC a premier training provider for first responders at all levels nationwide. Major General James Hoyer, the adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, identified the gap related to the threats and weapons of mass destruction response and being able to train the military and first responders "The WVNG is a leader in developing joint, interagency national security, homeland security, and emergency response training to serve state and nation," says Hoyer, "we are excited to have this partnership with West Virginia University."

JITEC has also gotten recent approval from FEMA on an upcoming Hazmat course that should be added to the FEMA federal catalog in the next few weeks.

Homeland Security Programs at West Virginia University (HSP@WVU) is the collaborative partner with JITEC and will be the contact for all marketing, scheduling and registration of the "IED Response on Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems" and "A WMD Event: Freight Rail Hazardous Materials Incident Response Involving Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems" first responder training courses. direct delivery and online courses. HSP@WVU is also the program office for the West Virginia University/Federal Bureau of Investigations' Biometric Center of Excellence and the program management office for the Center for Identification Technology Research.

For more information on Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Response on Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems (DOD-007-RESP) and A WMD Event: Freight Rail Hazardous Materials Incident Response Involving Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Systems (DOD-008-RESP) go to www.hsp.wvu.edu or contact Joan.Caridi@mail.wvu.edu/304-293-1455

Loading