Stadium Terror Drills

Title: Super Bowl Host Superdome Runs Emergency Drills
December 6, 2001
Sports Illustrated

Abstract: Disaster scenarios were played out at the Louisiana Superdome on Thursday as New Orleans officials practiced their response to the possibility of terrorist attacks during the Super Bowl.

The drill had officials from virtually every city agency in Superdome conference rooms, fielding mock reports of explosions outside the stadium and fans afflicted by a mysterious plague.

From another room, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials were calling in the fake reports.

FEMA routinely performs the drill in a city preparing to handle a major event, such as a papal visit or the Olympic games. On Thursday, New Orleans officials were forced to react to nightmare scenarios with such solutions as calling off the NFL championship game and evacuating the stadium area.

The drill "encourages coordination between the different agencies -- those people that have to come together in handling" the consequences of a disaster, said FEMA spokesman Michael Widomski.

The New Orleans police and fire departments took part in the drill, along with dozens of other city, state and federal agencies. Thursday's drill concluded a four-day training session that New Orleans officials requested from FEMA.

The Secret Service will be the lead agency in all the Super Bowl security preparations and operations. Other federal agencies involved will be the FBI and Coast Guard, along with members of the Louisiana National Guard.

Authorities are expecting about 70,000 to 80,000 people to be in the Superdome for the game Feb. 3, and at least 40,000 others in the immediate area.

The game also will occur right before the major Mardi Gras weekend, which typically attracts up to 1 million visitors, culminating in the Fat Tuesday celebration nine days after the Super Bowl (Sports Illustrated, 2001).

Terror Drill Staged At Coliseum Stadium Provides The Backdrop For SWAT Training Session
Date: June 16, 2004
Oakland Tribune

Abstract: A captor was holed up in one of the luxury box suites at the Network Associates Coliseum with four hostages, a simulation being lived out by the Oakland Special Weapons and Tactics team.

"Move! Move!" an officer yelled as the team burst into the room to subdue the suspect.

"Let me see your hands! Lie on the ground with your hands behind your back!"

Clapping him into handcuffs, the officer held a gun to the suspect as he stood with his foot on his back -- before letting him go with a boot print as a souvenir. In real life the "suspect" is a cadet with the Oakland Police Department.

The Coliseum drill was one of a series of training sessions…
(Oakland Tribune, 2004).

Title: Terror Drill At AT&T Park
February 24, 2007
SF Gate

Abstract: Volunteers playing the role of Giants fans stunned by a terror attack at AT&T Park evacuate the stadium during a terrorism response drill Saturday as other ?fans? injured in the attack await medical attention. The drill, supervised from the Giants press box by San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong and Deputy Chief Antonio Parra, was designed to test the plan drafted by the San Francisco Giants, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and various city and state agencies to respond to a disaster at the ballpark (SF Gate, 2007).

Title: Drill Helps UM Medical Center And Air Force Prepare For The Worst
April 16, 2007
University of Maryland

Abstract: There's just no getting around it.

America post-September 11 is a different country. Doomsday scenarios involving massive numbers of people on American soil once seemed far-fetched at best. Now, many people realize that potential danger could be right around the corner.

To prepare for a full-scale catastrophic event, the University of Maryland Medical Center joined forces with the U.S. Air Force Medical Service and numerous local and statewide agencies to simulate a disaster on Saturday, July 13.

The result was the Free State Response 2002 disaster drill, which took place at the University of Maryland Medical Center and involved about 200 volunteer disaster "victims as well several hundred doctorsnursesand other hospital staff. All were confronted with the following hypothetical situation: terrorists had released a toxic chemical - Phosgene -- at Baltimore Ravens Stadium, which caused an explosion in parking lot just before game.

"In my mind, it isn't a question of 'if' something like this is going to happen, but 'when' it is going to happen," said Thomas Scalea, M.D., Physician-in-Chief at the hospital's Shock Trauma Center. "Doing a disaster exercise of this magnitude is something that we've been wanting to do for some time, but September 11 really galvanized our efforts."

The purpose of the emergency response drill was to find out how well military personnel and medical personnel at the hospital's emergency department and Shock Trauma Center would handle a rapid influx of 200 injured people.

This exercise was one of the nation's first, full-scale disaster drills. One of the reasons it was conducted at the Medical Center is the hospital's extensive experience with critically ill and injured patients. The hospital's Shock Trauma Center, which treats about 7,500 patients a year, is one of the largest trauma centers in the United States. The emergency medicine department sees about 30,000 patients annually.

From Israel to Baltimore
According to University of Maryland Medical System president and chief executive officer Morton I. Rapoport, M.D., the idea for the disaster drill crystallized during a trip he took to Israel last December with members of the U.S. Air Force and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. There, they witnessed the Israeli Defense Forces' Home Front Command enact a huge bioterrorism training exercise involving about 1,000 Israeli volunteer "victims".

"Having seen it done in Israel, we knew that it could be done," Rapoport said. "We immediately began talking about the importance of doing this kind of training exercise here so that we could become better prepared to face bio/chemical terrorism."

With the help of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, the Maryland Army National Guard and the Baltimore Fire and Police Departments, about 145 volunteer "patients" were decontaminated and 43 were admitted to the hospital over the course of the four-hour exercise. Some of the "injured" were sent to the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which is adjacent to the University of Maryland Medical Center. In keeping with the realistic nature of the exercise scenario, there were also six "fatalities".

"What is most important to keep in mind is that today's exercise isn't an evaluation of how well we're doing or of what we know," said Brian Browne, M.D., the Medical Center's Chief of Emergency Medicine. "Today's exercise is a training exercise. There are a lot of people here being trained on a massive scale about what goes into a disaster response."

According to Browne, the focus of Saturday's drill was on what to do with patients once they arrive at the hospital.

"Most disaster exercises end after the emergency services personnel transport the patients to the hospital," Browne said. "Today, we have doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff all being trained in how to sort patients out once they get here. We really need this kind of training. You wouldn't hand a musician some sheet music and say, 'I'll see you at the concert. I hope everything goes well.' No, there is such a thing as rehearsal. This is our rehearsal."

Ready, Set, Action
A long, brown table covered with bottles of fake blood, packages of burned, plastic hands and rubber flesh torn apart by "broken" bones greeted volunteers at the Free State Response 2002 disaster drill.

Mary Holmes, a nurse at the Medical Center, sat with a group of "injured" volunteers, while waiting her turn to undergo decontamination and treatment for the bloody gash on her forehead. Upon arriving on the scene at 7 a.m., she was briefed on her role in the drill. She was told that she was a 65 year-old victim by the name of Angela Landsbury, who had been hit with flying shrapnel from the explosion at the Ravens' Stadium.

"I'm 65 and I know how to suture my own wound," she said.

Although her name may not be in lights, Holmes is no novice to this sort of exercise, which elicits a sense of imaginative drama from its participants.

"I used to be in the National Guard," she said. "I've done quite a few of these drills. Of course, nothing this big. I wanted to see what it was like to be on the other side. Today, I'm one of the walking wounded."

After getting made up, the volunteers who didn't mind getting wet were taken to the decontamination area, right outside of the hospital's emergency department. They walked under a huge shower hose perched on top of a fire truck's ladder, and were greeted by Air Force personnel, who were wearing gas masks and gray, plastic decontamination suits.

In the decontamination tent that the Air Force had set up, volunteers were scrubbed down with water before being released to the triage area.

"This is a pretty realistic scenario," said Maryland National Guard Master Sgt. Steve Bloodsworth. "You'd be surprised at how effective massive amounts of water can be. You generally don't want to use anything but water if you don't know what kinds of chemicals you are dealing with. Of course, some chemicals are reactive to water, but even with those chemicals, when you spray a person with massive amounts of water, you can usually get rid of them."

In addition to helping victims with their physical ailments, there were mental health counselors on hand to help victims with psychological problems.

"If this were a real life situation, there would be some people whose injuries may or may not be life-threatening, but who would reach their limit psychologically," said Kandy Aboud, a clinical nurse specialist in psychology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Some people will be having a hard time because they have seen a lot of dead bodies, or are fearful because they have been separated from their friends and family. You may even have some people who are actively suicidal, whose attitude is 'I'd rather die than live with this horrible injury or without a loved one.' In the midst of crises, it is also important to take care of your medical personnel, who may not recognize that they are exhausted and emotionally drained and in need of a break."

After most of the patients had been counseled, decontaminated, sorted and admitted to the hospital, the active duty Air Force personnel and the Air National Guard personnel conducted an aeromedical evacuation exercise. They used Maryland Army National Guard ambulances to move some "patients" to Martin State Airport.

No Easy Task
It takes an enormous amount of resources and planning to conduct a training exercise as thorough and realistic as the Free State Response 2002. Fortunately, the Medical Center has a strong relationship with the Air Force Medical Service, which was able to provide a great deal of support for the drill.

According to Dennis Schrader, Vice President of Project Planning and Development, all of the entities involved in the emergency exercise began planning it about six months ago.

"We are required by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations to do emergency exercises, but we've never done anything that involved this level of intensity and complexity," said Schrader.

Although the effort was the first of its kind, it won't be the last. Schrader said that the Medical Center intends to make the Free State Response disaster exercise an annual event.

"In order to respond well and appropriately in an emergency situation, it takes a lot of cooperation," said Browne. "We are all used to running our own, separate shops, but today, we are learning how to run one shop… What this really represents is a merging of the military and the civilian out of necessity. If you wait for federal help in the face of a disaster, you will wait too long. All of the local agencies have to be ready to work together" (University of Maryland, 2007).

Title: Marlyland Defense Force Joins National Guard For Major Homeland Security/Terrorist Response Exercise [M&T Bank Stadium]
September 7, 2007
Militatry Defense Force

Abstract: The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) joined the National Guard (NG) for Exercise Vigilant Guard, a major homeland security/terrorist response exercise held in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, during the week ending 7 September, 2007 (Maryland Army National Guard press release, 2007; Maryland Defense Force press release, 2007). Vigilant Guard is a National Guard Bureau sponsored series of national and regional exercises (Maryland National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, 2007) designed to enhance the preparedness of National Guard forces in performing their role as the first military responder in all domestic emergencies.

The State of Maryland’s military participation in Vigilant Guard involved the Maryland NG Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQs), Maryland Joint Task Force (JTF) and operational units from all four agencies of the Maryland Military Department; the Maryland Army National Guard (MDARNG), the Maryland Air National Guard (MDANG), the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the MDDF.
Participating agencies also included the Virginia NG and Department of Emergency
Management, the District of Columbia NG and Emergency Management Agency; Joint Force

Headquarters - National Capital Region; elements of the North Carolina NG; and county and municipal first responders from across the three jurisdictions. The exercise followed a simulated terrorist attack scenario which unfolded over the course of the three-day exercise. The first two days were played out on computer screens and communication equipment in the CPX at the Joint Operations Center at Camp Fretterd Military Reservation in Reisterstown, Maryland, primarily testing the Maryland NG’s ability to coordinate and interoperate with other state and local agencies.

Using simulated reports – “notional injects” in exercise parlance – from a variety of sources, the scenario unfolded. First a truck bomb collapsed a span of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge during rush hour traffic. Next, a bomb exploded on a rail line, derailing a train near the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. As public concern spread, traffic approached gridlock and telephone lines became overwhelmed. Suspected terrorists next fired an anti-tank rocket at a train in downtown Baltimore, followed by a shoot-out with city police who found a suspicious white powder in their vehicle near the M&T Bank Stadium (Military Defense Force, 2007).

Title: Drill Teaches Terror Lessons
Date: August 3, 2008
Baltimore Sun

Abstract: A booming crack and a cloud of smoke from a small metallic device caused hundreds to scream, clutch their bodies and quickly head to the exits of M&T Bank Stadium yesterday.

Soon, the parking lots outside the stadium were filled with flashing lights from firetrucks as emergency response workers tended to hundreds of disaster drill participants portraying ailing sports fans.

The three-hour exercise, "Operation Purple Haze," gave 300 local first-response providers an opportunity to prepare for a terrorist attack involving a simulated nuclear weapon. Organizers stressed that the exercise was an attempt to be proactive, and not in response to any specific terrorist threat.

"I am really excited about the number of people taking time out to take a proactive approach to making citizens feel safe," Mayor Sheila Dixon said shortly before the exercise began.

Similar scenarios have been staged at the Ravens' stadium for years, officials said, but yesterday's event, which included 500 volunteers posing as game fans, was the largest yet.

The lessons learned in the exercise at the stadium can be applied to other venues throughout the city and region, such as the Hippodrome and the soon-to-be-opened Convention Center hotel, according to Dixon.

"It's not that we hope for an incident to happen," Dixon said. "It's so we are prepared for an incident should it happen."

This year, Baltimore received $11.5 million in federal funding from the Urban Area Security Initiative, according to Dixon's office. Last year the city received $11.8 million. The money helps to pay for equipment and precautionary drills such as the one held yesterday.

"There is no more important job than to protect others from harm," Dixon said.

The drill allowed for first-responders at the city, state, and federal level to join with Dixon's office, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Maryland Stadium Authority.

The mock event was as true to real life as possible. Five hundred volunteers were recruited to act as fans at a game affected by a nuclear attack. They were assigned information cards that listed their injuries from the explosion. The cards even contained vital statistic such as blood pressure, which medical workers used to treat the injured on site.

Other volunteers were given scripts directing them to attempt to sneak by stadium employees in an attempt to search for missing relatives. Some were painted with makeup to simulate varying injuries.

The magnitude of the drill was part of "the Ravens' ongoing effort to do everything we can do to make the stadium secure," said team President Dick Cass. "We take this very, very seriously."

An attack could happen in any area of the region with a large population, officials said.

"We are never going to be totally ready for the unexpected," Cass said. "Today will allow us to be better prepared."

The Maryland Stadium Authority, which oversees several sites including M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, was particularly interested in the activity.

Camden Yards has 3.5 million visitors a year, said David Raith, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority. "That's why it's important that we have exercises," he said. "We have a lot of people that come through."

Volunteers for yesterday's exercise included stadium employees, season ticket holders and residents of surrounding neighborhoods.

Melissa and Darrell Shelton, a couple who work security at the stadium, immediately volunteered for the chance to participate in the exercise.

"I'm trying to understand what would happen if we emptied out the stadium," Darrell Shelton said. "Every location is an eventual security target. I don't let it get to me."

Melissa Shelton said she feels safer knowing that the stadium staff is prepared for emergencies.

"I think that fans should feel safe and secure," she said (Baltimore Sun, 2008).

Title: Orioles & Ravens Collaborate In Leadership Tabletop Exercise
July 27, 2010

Abstract: It's October 2010. The Orioles have reached the playoffs and the Ravens season is underway. Both teams have a game on the same Sunday evening, and the Camden Yards area is mobbed by excited fans. At M&T Bank Stadium, Ravens fans are celebrating a victory as time expires. The excitement of the occasion turns to sudden panic as a suspicious package is located in M&T Bank Stadium and someone screams "BOMB!"  People flee from the stadium and panic spreads to the patrons entering Oriole Park. At that moment, an explosion occurs inside Oriole Park, followed by another explosion on the overpass between the two stadiums. Mass panic ensues. What actions will be taken to secure the area, provide safe evacuation routes, and supply medical aid?

Fortunately, the Maryland Stadium Authority, Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) jointly sponsored a tabletop exercise to discuss scenarios such as the one above. On July 15, 2010, a group of stadium partners and local emergency responders, with the assistance of CHHS and the FBI, met in the M&T Bank Stadium press room to ensure public safety through collaborative partnerships. The broad spectrum of attendees represented a number of groups, including the Ravens and Orioles; stadium vendors; representatives from merchandising, parking, and janitorial services; the Maryland Stadium Authority; Baltimore City police and fire departments; the FBI, and CHHS.

The July 15 tabletop exercise was designed to present a plausible scenario that would test emergency preparedness and response capabilities as well as the interaction between stadium partners during simultaneous Ravens and Orioles games. Participants discussed three separate threat levels. The first involved a heightened fear of a terrorist attack in the area. The second level considered the presence of a suspicious package located on the premises potentially containing an explosive device, and the resulting panic as fans are informed. The third level focused on the coordinated emergency response to an on-site bombing incident.

The tabletop exercise also helped reinforce key skills for managing an incident and mitigating its effects. Because maintaining close communication and the fast implementation of pre-existing plans is vital for mitigating the effects of any emergency, exercise participants were tasked with executing their own Emergency Operations Plan while maintaining communication and coordination with other partners. Participating partners were also able to reinforce their understanding of Incident Command System (ICS), as they practiced setting up a unified command and using the ICS structure to make important decisions, ensure clear communication, maximize available resources, and increase the overall effectiveness of the response effort.

The tabletop exercise concluded with a general sense of optimism in the stadium partners' ability to defuse a chaotic situation and protect the public. The exercise participants demonstrated the proficiency they have already achieved while also overcoming areas of concern. CHHS was on hand to track important breakthroughs and recommend additions to existing Ravens and Orioles emergency plans.

Participants agreed that collaborative exercises like this one are necessary for maintaining the best possible preparedness plan to protect the public and business interests involved. CHHS will continue to provide its insight on emergency management in Baltimore and beyond to ensure businesses maintain thorough and well-practiced plans (MDCHHS, 2010). $

Title: D.C. Tests Emergency Prepardness In Citywide Drill
Date: September 28, 2011
Source: TBD

Abstract: The District of Columbia hosted a city-wide natural disaster exercise Wednesday. First responders and agencies trained for a scenario in which a Category 2 hurricane makes landfall in D.C.

Millicent West of D.C. homeland security said the scenario was not very likely, “but we wanted to make sure we made it something that could happen but a little more extreme. We wanted to push ourselves a bit.”

The simulated disaster will take place at RFK Stadium in southeast Washington. Inside the stadium, the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross and the D.C. National Guard set up a simulated shelter.

“We don't want another superdome scenario to work itself out here. So we've worked out relationships with the downtown bid, the hotel association, the Verizon Center, the convention center, that if we do need to do a mega shelter that we don't have something like we did in New Orleans,” West said.

Dummy represented victims in a building collapse. D.C. firefighters used specially trained k-9s to find victims, as well as tools that can track heat and sound.

“We can listen and hear and try to triangulate where they might be,” explained Sgt. Christopher Holmes, a special operations firefighter.

While the exercise comes shortly after Hurricane Irene swept across the region, it’s been planned for a year.

Staff from the medical examiner's office set up a temporary morgue and the health department was responsible for an emergency animal shelter.

“Our role here is to complement the human sheltering side of things and to make sure that people know that if disaster happens, there's a place where they will be safe and where their pets will be safe,” Molly Lunaris of the health department said.

The exercise was meant to gauge the district's ability to give out bulk quantities of medicine and vaccinations, shelter and feed large quantities of people and successfully communicate through radio, among other capabilities.

The drill included agencies not traditionally involved in emergency preparedness, such as the Office on Aging, the Department of Corrections and staff that deal with non-English speaking residents. Additional drills are planned for spring and fall of 2012 (TBD, 2011).

Title: Mock Terror Attack At Nats Park
Date: December 14, 2011
NBC 4 News

Abstract: A large scale emergency disaster drill was held at Nationals Park Wednesday.

The mock terrorist attack simulated conditions first-responders would face trying to rescue victims during a chemical attack. It also offered insight as to how emergency medical care would be provided during a nuclear or high-yield explosive incident.

The District of Columbia Fire Department and the U.S. Marines Corps’ Chemical Biological Incident Response Force participated in the four-hour drill.  Both groups are specially trained to deal with large-scale incidents and set to deploy at any time in the Washington metro area (NBC 4 News, 2011).