Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Emergency Services in Terror Drill; Metro Station Closed to Allow Olympics Security Exercise

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Emergency Services in Terror Drill; Metro Station Closed to Allow Olympics Security Exercise

Article excerpt

Byline: ALASTAIR CRAIG

PULLING on chemical warfare suits, emergency services swarmed on a Tyneside Metro station.

Dozens of police, fire and ambulance crews were on the scene to deal with a reported terrorist assault on St James' station in Newcastle city centre.

Thankfully, it was only a security exercise to train the emergency services to deal with any large-scale incident during the upcoming Olympic Games.

The exercise seemed chillingly real, and was partly in preparation for Olympic football matches to be staged at St James' Park in July and August.

Wearing chemical and biological protection suits and gas masks, police, fire officers and paramedics darted in and out of the station to practise evacuating and treating passengers in the event of an attack or fire.

And police and fire mobile emergency control centres were set up in the shadow of the 52,000-seat stadium to co-ordinate a critical response to the mock disaster.

Newcastle United's stadium will host group games involving Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Gabon, Switzerland, Brazil, New Zealand, Spain, Honduras, Japan and Morocco as well as a quarter-final tie.

Tens of thousands are expected to attend the fixtures, and North East emergency co-ordinators are mirroring London and other cities in carrying out security and disaster drills.

Northumbria Police confirmed the exercise was focused on transport links to St James' Park. A spokesman for the Tyne and Wear Metro system said: "We are working closely with the emergency services to ensure we are all prepared in the event of any large-scale incident.

"It's vital that everyone is ready when so many people will be converging at once in a small area."

Last month, we reported that football fans will have to arrive at St James' Park two hours before kick-off. …

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