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Mall Terror Drills

Practice makes perfect, and terror drills being conducted at Mall of America and other malls across America have increased rapidly since 9/11. These drills feature various terror scenerios including active shooters, bombings, and nuclear devices by local, state, federal, and foreign entities. *Not a complete list of mall terror drills

Mall Terror Drills
Mall: Mall of America
Date: September 20, 2002
Agencies: Rozin Security LLC 
Location: Minnieapolis, Minnesota
Notes: Drill incuded a bomb planted by terrorists that exploded at the mall

Title: 
Mall Of America To Hold Terror Training Exercise
Date: September 20, 2002
Source: Brainerd Dispatch 

Abstract:
 The Mall of America and local authorities on Sunday night will conduct a large-scale emergency response exercise based on the idea that a bomb planted by terrorists exploded at the mall.

There will be fake smoke, two fake deaths and 28 fake injuries.

It will be the largest emergency exercise in the mall's history and the first to test response to a terrorist act. About 120 fire, police and emergency personnel will participate.

The mall will not be evacuated, but customers will be kept away from its south side, where the incident will be played out. While stores close at 7 p.m., bars, restaurants and movie theaters will stay open.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, law officers and elected leaders came to believe the megamall would be a likely target in the unlikely event that terrorists focused on Minnesota.

"I would probably rank it as the No. 1 symbol of America within Minnesota, simply because of what we stand for, our lifestyle, our way of life," said attorney William Michael Jr., former terrorism coordinator and national security coordinator for the U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis (Brainerd Dispatch, 2002).

Mall Terror Drills 
Mall:
CambridgeSide Galleria Mall
Date: September 17, 2006
Agencies: Executive Office of Public Safety, Office of Homeland Security, National Guard, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Location:
Boston, Massachusetts
Notes:
Drill simulated a radioactive "dirty bomb," detonated inside the CambridgeSide Galleria mall in Boston.

Title: Drill Will Test Homeland Security Readiness In Boston
Date: August 30, 2006
Source:
Security Info Watch

Abstract: Less than a week after the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, one of the largest antiterror drills ever in New England will test how public safety officials deal with some of their worst fears all at the same time.

The nightmare scenario starts with an explosion in a basement lab in Everett, jumps to a threat to the liquefied natural gas facility in Everett, and mushrooms to multiple explosions, one involving a radioactive "dirty bomb," inside the CambridgeSide Galleria mall, according to a memo obtained by the Globe yesterday.

Finally, as patrons flee the mall, at least one improvised explosive device is found at the nearby Lechmere MBTA station, according to the memo outlining Operation Poseidon, scheduled for the morning of Sunday, Sept. 17.

The drill, which will soon be announced to minimize public alarm, ends with a fictional 25 dead and 150 wounded.

Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and paramedics will re spond to each incident. An undetermined number of people will pretend to be customers at the mall, riders on the T, and possible terrorists.

Sponsored by the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino's Office of Homeland Security, the exercise is designed to bring together federal, state, and local agencies, as well as hospitals and the National Guard, to coordinate and improve how they respond, communicate, and work together to tackle the fast-moving series of threats.

"It's really the best way to make sure everyone is working well together," said Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Law enforcement, military, federal, and emergency medical workers, as well as firefighters, will be tested on their response to a bombing in which there could be secondary devices in multiple locations and how they "identify potential suspects who may continue to linger in the area following an initial blast," the memo said.

Officials at the CambridgeSide Galleria said the exercise is scheduled to start around 4 a.m., well before the mall opens that day at 11 a.m. In addition, the mall's neighbors have been notified by the Cambridge Fire Department.

The last high-profile terrorism training event in Boston happened in June 2005 with the simulation of a terrorist hijacking of an airliner en route from Paris to Chicago, the first US drill involving the real-time intercept of a commercial airliner by military jets.

More than 50 federal, state, and local agencies participated in the $750,000 exercise, paid for by a federal homeland security grant. More than 80 volunteers, posing as hostages, spent two hours in the air. Once F-15 fighter jets forced the United Airlines plane to land at Logan International Airport, the hijackers detonated a "bomb" in the plane's cargo hold, "killed" a 14-year-old girl, and threw a dummy representing her body from the rear door. Police stormed the plane and arrested five terrorists, and the "injured" were sent to at least nine area hospitals.

Next month's exercise, also paid for by grants from the federal government, is expected to cost much more, with 81 state troopers being paid $78,000 in wages alone, said Andrew Plunkett, spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety.

State and city officials yesterday could not provide a total price tag or number of participants.

The exercise combines a threat to an LNG facility one of the Boston region's biggest vulnerabilities with a kind of attack that some homeland security specialists fear will be the next level of terrorism, based on events that have happened elsewhere.

The scenario begins when Everett police respond to a call from a citizen regarding suspicious activity at a home, possibly drug-related.

But as police close in on the home, a van with several men inside is seen leaving the area. This is followed by an explosion in the basement of the home, where police quickly find a laboratory.

Police find evidence suggesting that the Distrigas facility and an LNG tanker in Everett have been targeted by terrorists. The Mystic River becomes the focal point, and the Coast Guard secures the LNG terminal and tanker.

After Sept. 11, 2001, LNG facilities were identified as potential terrorist targets. Last week, Governor Mitt Romney ordered a review of security at LNG storage facilities statewide after intruders broke into a KeySpan storage facility in Lynn.

Julie Vitek, a spokeswoman for Distrigas, said the company conducts at least one safety or security drill a month at the Everett facility.

"LNG is as safe, if not safer, to transport and store than other fuels that come into Boston Harbor and other ports every day," she said yesterday. "However, our company has always had a deep commitment to safety and security. And we have worked closely with local, state, and federal officials regarding both our day-to-day operations and safety and security drills."

As the exercise continues and "as activity and anxiety surrounding the discovery in Everett generate more interest and involvement," there are two explosions at the CambridgeSide Galleria. One blast is in the crowded food court, followed by another near a central escalator. The scenario says that one of these bombs will be a "dirty" bomb with a radiological source that could contaminate the surrounding area.

Responding officers will tend to the wounded and also be reviewed on their ability to identify any suspects.

Former federal antiterrorism official Richard A. Clarke and others say that low-tech terrorist attacks on shopping centers, amusement parks, and other public places could devastate the US economy and change society.

Finally, according to the exercise, at least one device will be found at the Lechmere Station on or near the platform, instead of inside a bus or rail car.

Officers will be judged on how quickly they evacuate the area and isolate the device.

After the exercise, all the responding agencies will be evaluated and given feedback.

"Operation Poseidon is an important test of our region's interoperable communications, emergency operations, and response capacity," Jennifer Mehigan, a spokeswoman for Menino, said in a statement (Security Info Watch, 2006).

Mall Terror Drills 
Mall: 
Mall of America
Date: 
Novermber 28, 2009
Agencies: Rozin Security LLC 
Location: Minnieapolis, Minnesota
Notes: 
Drill incuded a bomb planted by terrorists that exploded at the mall. Mall of America has a lockdown drill 1x a month.

Title:
 Mall of America Practices Emergency Lockdown Drill
Date: 
November 28, 2009
Source:
 National Terror Alert (DHS)

Abstract: The Mall of America security team will be doing monthly lockdown drills to ensure they are ready if and when trouble strikes. They had their first drill earlier this week, shortly after the mall opened.

This exercise and approach to preparedness is one that I’m hoping other shopping mall managers across the country will take notice of and consider adopting.

Last month you might recall, Spike TV’s Surviving Disaster, featured an episode on  how to survive and escape an active shooting by a group of terrorists in a shopping mall (National Terror Alert (DHS), 2009)

Mall Terror Drills 
Mall: 
Meadowhall Shopping Centre
Date: 
July 13, 2010
Agencies: Fire Crews, Hospital Staff
Location: 
Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England
Notes: 
Drill scenario involved a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) device had exploded in the mall. 

Title:
 Dry Run For Nuclear Terror Medics At Mall 
Date:
 July 14, 2010
Source:
 
Yorkshire Post

Abstract: Fire crews and hospital staff carried out an exercise in Barnsley yesterday to test the emergency response to a terrorist attack in South Yorkshire.

The scenario was that a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) device had exploded in the Meadowhall shopping centre and crowds of people with radiation burns needed to be treated.

Volunteers were showered in "decontamination" tents at Barnsley Hospital before being allowed in the hospital's emergency department.

Mike Lees, head of emergency planning at Barnsley Hospital, said: "Exercises like this are all about gaining experience for the future, for the time when we have to deal with real, large-scale emergencies" (Yorkshire Post, 2010).

Mall Terror Drills 
Mall:
Auburn Mall
Date:
 September 23, 2011
Agencies: Federal and state authorities
Location:
Boston, Massachusetts
Notes: 
Drill simulated situation involved several suspects taking hostages inside the busy mall.

Title: Terror Drill Executed At Local Mall
Date: September 16, 2011
Source:
WCVB TV

Abstract: Local and state police are going over the results of a terror drill at a local mall. The Auburn Mall was shut down and transformed into a real-time scenario on Sunday. The simulated situation involved several suspects taking hostages inside the busy mall.

Federal and state authorities practiced techniques developed in the aftermath of 9-11. Explosive detection dog teams also tested their abilities. Volunteers played the roles of suspects and witnesses (WCVB TV, 2011).

Mall Terror Drills 
Mall: 
Park Meadows Mall 
Date: September 23, 2011
Agencies: FBI, DHS, 100+ in total 
Location: 
Denver, Colorado
Notes: 
Drill scenario involved an active shooter.

Title: 'Emergency' Planned For Denver On Friday 
Date: September 21, 2011
Source: Denver Business Journal 

Abstract:
 Expect some loud noises, smoke and a lot of emergency vehicles Friday in and around Denver.

YouTube-Video

Operation Mountain Guardian, a terrorism-based, full-scale emergency exercise, happens Friday at four primary locations — including Union Station — and six secondary locations.

Operations begin at 5 a.m. and are scheduled to wrap up by 4:30 p.m.

Organizers are warning the exercise will include simulated weapons as well as planned responses from 101 military, police, fire and hospital organizations.

Other locations included in the event are: Park Meadows Mall; Smedley Elementary School; the Lowry campus of the Community College of Aurora; Denver International Airport; Sky Ridge Medical Center; Denver Health Medical Center; University of Colorado Hospital; Catholic Charities in northwest Denver and Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Money for most of the operation comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Colorado Governor’s Office of Homeland Security (Denver Business Journal, 2011).

Mall Terror Drills 
Mall:
Infiniti Mall 
Date: January 23, 2012
Agencies: Bangur Nagar Police
Location:
Malad, India
Notes: 
Drill scenario tested terror preparedness of the mall management.

Title: Mock Drill At Malad Mall Triggers Panic
Date:
January 24, 2012
Source:
Times of India

Abstract:
A mock drill conducted by the Bangur Nagar police at Infiniti mall in Malad (W) caused panic among Monday morning shoppers.

Officials said the objective was to check terror preparedness of the mall management.

"An announcement was made that an attack had taken place. There was panic, but we managed to evacuate shoppers," an official said
(Times of India, 2012).