Largest ever emergency exercise taking place at Union Station this weekend

Nov 1 2019, 7:16 am

If you’re planning on passing through Union Station this weekend, be advised that a major emergency exercise is scheduled to take place.

On Saturday, November 2, Metrolinx is teaming up with the Toronto Paramedic Services to host the largest joint emergency exercise ever at the country’s busiest transit hub.

The exercise will begin late evening on Saturday, November 2, and end in the early morning on Sunday, November 3.

“Safety is critical to everything we do at Metrolinx, and it is important to regularly test our emergency preparedness to ensure our staff and first-responders are ready in the event of any type of critical incident at Union Station,” said George Bell, Metrolinx VP of Safety and Security in a statement.

Transit services will not be disrupted as a result of the exercise, however, Metrolinx says there will be some temporary road and sidewalk closures around the station to watch out for.

According to Metrolinx, the emergency simulation has taken months to plan and organize and will include 150 actors, professional makeup artists, and staged smoke at platform levels.

During the simulation, the public may see volunteers pretending to be seriously injured, many emergency vehicles in the area, and first responders acting out the response protocol.

Metrolinx is advising that this is not an actual emergency and the public should avoid calling 911 to ask questions.

“In the event of an actual wide-scale emergency, the exercise will be cancelled and first responders redirected,” said Metrolinx.

This exercise is not the first Metrolinx has conducted with emergency services partners in the area.

Metrolinx said that in September 2018 and April 2017, they conducted emergency simulations to test and assess responses to train derailments. “All of the key learnings from previous exercises have helped improve emergency responsiveness in worst-case scenarios,” they said.