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Rail News: Safety

FDNY task force conducts rail tunnel emergency exercise

FDNY firefighters and rescue personnel during a training exercise on the use of rebreathers at the East New York Freight Tunnel in East New York, Brooklyn.
Photo – New York & Atlantic Railway


New York & Atlantic Railway (NYAR) recently partnered with MTA Long Island Rail Road and the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) in conducting an emergency tunnel access training exercise involving more than 200 firefighters, emergency medical personnel and emergency rescue responders in the East New York Rail Tunnel. 

The tunnel used by NYAR to move freight to and from Brooklyn is 3,600 feet long. The exercise helped train first responders on rebreather equipment in an underground environment, with smoke and other conditions that are similar to what the FDNY might encounter in an actual emergency, according to a news release.

A rebreather is a portable breathing device that absorbs the carbon dioxide of a user’s exhaled breath, essentially recycling unused oxygen.  

The exercise replicated a major multivehicle crash in an underground highway tunnel. Firefighters and rescue teams entered the tunnel in dark and smokey conditions and used rebreathers and various equipment to access and extricate victims. Approximately two dozen firefighters also participated as simulated victims extracted from vehicles, who were rescued and provided on-scene emergency medical care.