SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 15, 2013

Salem bracing for a crisis

(Continued)

Although the crisis in the tunnel could be a fire or explosion, organizers don’t want to provide exact details because they want the emergency responders to react to some unknowns.

“We don’t want to give everything away,” said Randy Clarke, senior director of security and emergency management for the T. “It’s going to be like a real-life situation because you won’t know everything you’re going into.”

The key is to see how well the emergency responders, which include transit, commuter rail and city safety officials, can communicate with one another and safely evacuate passengers.

Although a T official said this drill is not a response to the Boston Marathon bombing, he acknowledged that the two events are not unrelated.

“That’s what we think about every day,” said Clarke. “The nature of our jobs is to think about things like this ... to prevent something (like that) from happening.”

Drills like this are crucial, officials said, to build partnerships and improve communication among law enforcement agencies that respond to emergencies.

“I think the big thing from this whole drill is we’re practicing incident command,” said fire Chief Dave Cody, “so that police, fire, ambulance and any other services can work together.”

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.

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