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On Anniversary of L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station Tragedy, Mayor Bowser Highlights Training of More Than 1,600 FEMS Employees

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that all 1,600 DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS) operational employees have been trained in Metro incident response since the tragic incident at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station on January 12, 2015. One year ago, smoke filled the Metro tunnel and station that resulted in the death of Carol Inman Glover and sent more than 80 passengers to the hospital.

“In the aftermath of the Metro tragedy, I instructed our first responders to evaluate how we could improve our response and ensure the safety of our passengers on public transportation,” said Mayor Bowser. “As a result, we have placed greater emphasis on station familiarization and inspection and improved our communications testing and incident training. Our first responders have the tools and the training they need to serve residents and visitors.”

FEMS has implemented new training processes that focus on Metro’s tunnels and rail cars and how best the Department can communicate with Metro and law enforcement agencies. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), in coordination with the Council of Governments, has also put in place a fire liaison official at the WMATA Operations Control Center in Landover, Maryland, to help improve communications between the two agencies.

Other steps that FEMS has taken include: joint radio testing with the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) and WMATA to ensure radio reception will be available at all Metrorail stations within the District of Columbia; and development of joint supervisory training between FEMS battalion fire chiefs and Metro Transit Police.

“We have learned some valuable lessons in the last year that will help our response to any situation that occurs on Metrorail,” said FEMS Chief Gregory M. Dean. “The important takeaway is that constant training for our members will reinforce the roles and responsibilities that should be carried out and improve situational awareness when we respond.”