Federal Transit Administration Launches Emergency Preparedness Forum in Cooperation with Denver Regional Transportation District

Denver, CO - The Federal Transit Administration will open the FTA's "Connecting Communities: Emergency Preparedness and Security Forum" in Denver on October 30-31. The forums were created to help communities become better prepared to respond to emergency situations.

Using the successful evacuation of the transit stations below the World Trade Center as a benchmark, the goal of the forums is to demonstrate the important role that transit plays in crisis situations and the importance of delivering a coordinated response across all public safety agencies. Participating transit agencies will work with regional emergency responders to determine the effectiveness of interagency response plans for the Denver region.

"Public transportation is an important component of our Nation's emergency response and evacuation plans in the event of natural disasters or terrorist incidents," said FTA Administrator Jennifer L. Dorn. "Transit vehicles often serve not only as a means of moving people away from affected areas, but also as an important means to transport emergency workers to the site or as a temporary shelter for both workers and victims. When disaster strikes, the public demands an expert team, delivering a coordinated response across traditional boundaries."

The forums, which will continue in other U.S. cities through early 2003, have been created in cooperation with FTA's partners, the American Public Transportation Association and the Federal Railroad Administration. The FTA has been working with the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) to host the forum.

"The increased focus on security reemphasizes our continued commitment o the safety of public transportation. Heightened awareness also enlists our passengers and employees to act as the eyes and ears of an expanded security presence," said Clarence Marsella, General Manager of RTD.

FTA's five-part Security Initiative includes evaluating threats and vulnerabilities through a security assessment; developing a plan to address vulnerabilities; testing the plan in realistic situations; training employees to understand and implement the plan; and undertaking research to enhance human capabilities.

Registration for the forums is being offered at no charge; however, participants must pre-register online. The forums are led by instructors who take participants through hands-on exercises, including discussions, various emergency scenarios and group break-out sessions.

Future scheduled forums are November 4-5 in Houston, TX; November 6-7 in Dallas, TX; and December 5-6 in Charlotte, NC. Other forums cities with dates to be determined are: Hartford, CT; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; and San Diego, CA.

For more information on the forums, visit http://www.transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov.

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