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6/19/2002



Rail News: Passenger Rail

SEPTA hosts FTA emergency preparedness seminar


Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority June 19 and 20 hosts the second in a series of seminars titled "Connecting Communities: Emergency Preparedness and Security Forum" that Federal Transit Administration plans to hold in 17 cities.



The seminars, the first of which was held May 15 - 16 in Orlando, Fla., include hands-on exercises, such as discussions, emergency scenarios, group break-out sessions, and video and instructor-led presentations. Participants include state and local emergency management coordinators, transit managers, transit security personnel, fire response and police personnel, emergency medical services, hospital disaster relief coordinators, and representatives from other agencies involved in transportation and emergency response.



FTA Administrator Jennifer Dorn addressed transportation security during the opening session at American Public Transportation Association’s Commuter Rail/Rail Transit Conference held June 8 - 13 in Baltimore.



"The threat of terrorism is not transitory," she said. "It is real and ongoing."



In the days following the attacks, transit workers and first responders told Dorn there were three factors that prevented the tragedies from being worse: They had emergency plans in place, they had practiced and drilled against the plans, and leaders of transit, fire, medical and police service providers had trusted relationships with one another that already had been established.



Dorn also advised conference attendees that $50,000 in grants had been established to help fund emergency drills so communities could enhance their preparedness to the point where responses would become fast and automatic. Several agencies and first-responders could pool their resources to stage larger, regional drills, if they so chose. And, unlike many other federal grants, no local matches are required to access these funds.



FTA, in cooperation with Transportation Security Agency, plans to hold future seminars in Seattle; San Jose, Calif.; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; St. Louis; Detroit; Denver; Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; Hartford, Conn.; Houston; Los Angeles; New York; and San Diego. Additional information and online registration are available at www.transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov.



Kathi Kube


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