Urban Shield: Boston to Test Region’s First Responders


Members of the Public May See Public Safety Personnel Responding to Simulated Emergencies. Exercise Will Consist of Several Events Throughout City and Region. No Danger to the Public.

BOSTON– On Saturday, May 3, the City of Boston’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will host Urban Shield: Boston, a 24-hour regional training exercise that simulates large-scale public safety incidents in the Metro-Boston area. Urban Shield: Boston will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and conclude at 8 a.m. Sunday.

The training will include approximately 2,000 personnel from: departments within the City of Boston (Boston Police, Boston Fire, EMS, OEM, and the Boston Public Health Commission); the Metro-Boston Homeland Security Region (MBHSR, which includes Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Brookline, and Winthrop); the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority; and the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals. The exercise will assess the ability of public safety personnel to successfully respond to, and manage, multiple public safety threats and emergencies occurring simultaneously throughout the metro-Boston area.

“As we saw last year during the Boston Marathon attacks, our first responders are well trained to handle any situation,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Urban Shield: Boston is a unique training exercise that enables our first responders to work collaboratively in a simulated environment so they can operate effectively in real-world scenarios.”

As first responder teams arrive from throughout Greater Boston, they will be assigned to deal with a series of 11 complex public safety scenarios based on past real-life events, including:
an “active shooter” situation in Brookline;
a “hostage” rescue of elected officials in Boston;
an “explosive device” found in the transit system;
an “injured officer” situation in Cambridge;
a “parking lot collapse” in Boston; and
a large-scale consolidated event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Funding from the Urban Area Security Initiative grant program through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been appropriated with the goal of providing a multi-layered training exercise to enhance the skills and abilities of the region’s first responders. Every aspect of Urban Shield: Boston (planning, preparation and execution of the exercise) is managed by first responders in the MBHSR.

“Urban Shield: Boston allows the Region’s first responders to establish professional relationships with their partner agencies prior to an emergency, so the first time they are meeting is not during an active response,” said Rene Fielding, Director of OEM.

The Urban Shield: Boston exercise debuted in 2011 with the intent of validating emergency response investments in equipment and training through a series of contingency-based scenarios that reflect the current threat to public safety and security. The results of the exercise are evaluated by the MBHSR leadership and used to inform future procurements in equipment and training requirements.

Urban Shield: Boston will run for a 24-hour period. As a result residents may observe public safety personnel responding to simulated emergencies. Each scenario will be run multiple times, and residents should not to be alarmed. There is no danger to anyone in the area, and exercises will be done in cordoned-off areas away from the public.

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