State-of-the-Art underground facility will help train first responders from around the country
BOSTON – June 12, 2013 – MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey, MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott were joined today by Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole to officially open the new MBTA Emergency Training Center. The center is a state-of-the-art public transit emergency training facility constructed in the former streetcar tunnels adjacent to the current MBTA Broadway station in South Boston. It provides advanced training, exercise, and simulation capabilities in a realistic tunnel environment.
“The opening of this facility represents years of work in a true sense of partnership between our agencies and the Department of Homeland Security,” said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey. “As we know all too well, saving lives in an emergency always comes back to training and I am looking forward to seeing many brave first responders receive vital training here at our facility.”
The Emergency Training Center consists of multiple training areas, each dedicated to different transit modes or response functions, including heavy rail, light rail, bus, power, evacuation, and both law enforcement and fire response. Full-size decommissioned bus and rail vehicles and a control room that can simulate advanced audio and visual effects add to the realism of the programs the facility will offer. In addition, all training and exercise audio and video can be recorded for review and analysis in the on-site classrooms.
“Our customers and employees’ safety is our number one priority at the MBTA,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott. “This facility will not only train our Transit Police and other first responders, but our front line employees as well, who are crucial to keeping customers informed and calm in a potential emergency.”
The MBTA Emergency Training Center will enhance the MBTA’s ability to prepare for emergencies more realistically, frequently, and with fewer service or cost impacts. Through partnerships with the MBTA, agencies throughout the region and country will soon also be able to use and benefit from this remarkable facility.
“Day to day, we rely on our emergency response partners to assist us on incidents on the MBTA,” said MBTA Transit Police Paul MacMillan. “This is a state of the art training facility that will be used by first responders from around the region to train in emergency situations in a subway environment. This will allow them to be safer and more effective during those responses.”
The space that is now occupied by the MBTA Emergency Training Center began life in 1917 as an underground streetcar station. Only two years later, on October 14, 1919, the station was closed after being made redundant. In the years since, the abandoned space has seen a variety of uses, including growing mushrooms, material storage, and testing station accessibility enhancements. In 2009, MBTA officials began exploring the feasibility of converting the space into a state-of-the-art emergency training facility for transit. Through a $10 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security, this vision is now being fulfilled.