ATLANTA - MARTA experienced alarms, smoke and panicked screams in Midtown late Saturday into Sunday.
Don’t worry: It’s all planned.
But some riders are going to have to deal with delays.
It was part of the transit system’s full-scale emergency preparedness exercise at the Midtown station from 10 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday.
MARTA police Lt. Aston Greene, who led the simulation, said 17 federal, state and local agencies would participate in the exercise, intended to provide real-life training for first responders.
“There will be simulated gunfire and people appearing to be injured,” Green said at a news conference Thursday. “It’s similar to a Hollywood production, but it helps to increase training.”
The training has been in the works since January through a federal grant from the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program, which provides law enforcement agencies with a set of guidelines and suggestions in addressing national emergencies.
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“These exercises are a critical tool that enable us to assess our response to crisis situations and identify areas for improvements,” MARTA CEO Keith Parker said in a statement. “The recent terror attack on London’s rail system as well as natural disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma underscore the importance of running various scenarios.”
At 9 p.m. Saturday, service on the northbound and southbound rails will be interrupted and a bus bridge will be put in place at the Arts Center and North Avenue stations. The bus will take passengers to the next available station.
Local businesses and nearby residents have been contacted about the exercise to minimize confusion, MARTA officials said.
“Businesses and residents in a five-mile radius of the MARTA Midtown station may hear loud noises and see heavy police activity as part of this year’s exercise,” MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham said.
The following road closures were in place during the exercise:
- Peachtree Place NE from West Peachtree Street NW to Peachtree Street NE beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday.
- 10th Street NE from West Peachtree Street NW to Peachtree Street NE beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday.
Limited access was provided for the Regency Suites parking deck and the Alta Midtown parking deck.
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