Monday, July 11, 2011

Were Standard Operating Procedures Followed During Rockville Bomb Scare?

In the wake of the confusion following June 13 bomb scare on the Red Line, I wanted to know Metro's standard operating procedures (SOP) for such a scenario.

I asked Metro several times to provide them, but Metro ignored all requests, so I got them another way.

Below is the official SOP for a bomb scare. It's from the 2003 "Metrorail Safety Rules and Procedures Handbook." The 2003 version is the official version.

There is a 2010 version of the book that remains in a draft form. The procedures in it seem to place more responsibility on the Metro Transit Police, saying, for example, that the chief of the MTPD is the only one who can order the closure of a station. The "checklist" is also longer. You can read the entire 2010 draft bomb scare SOP here. (page 1, 2, 3)

I'd be curious to see what people think of either the 2003 or 2010 versions and if you think they were followed at Rockville.

While the 2010 book is in a draft form, Metro printed and distributed thousands. Your money at work.

The 2010 draft book is pictured above.
14.2 14.3
Employees receiving a call with a bomb threat should attempt to obtain as much information as the caller will divulge, including the following:
a. location of the bomb b. scheduled time of detonation c. description of the bomb d. type of bomb
The Bomb Threat Call Checklist should be used, if available, to document the threat.
Employees shall immediately report any bomb threat call that they receive to the Transit Police through OCC or by telephone on 962-2121.
The Transit Police will be responsible for the overall coordination of bomb related incidents and establish liaison with the office of SAFE, local police, Fire Department and military personnel responding to the scene.
The Chief of the Transit Police or their designee is responsible for determining if facilities are to be evacuated.
14.5 When the bomb is reported on an identified train, OCC will instruct the Train Operator to proceed to the nearest station, unload the train of passengers and secure it with the doors open for inspection by police, fire or other authorized personnel.
14.6 OCC will instruct Train Operators approaching the station on the adjacent track to stop outside the station and await further instructions.
14.7 When the bomb is reported in an identified station and directions are given from command personnel to evacuate, the Station Manager shall make prescribed public address announcements instructing passengers to leave the station.
14.8 Depending on the reported bomb location in the station, OCC may order Train Operators approaching the station to stop. Train Operators already in the station will be permitted to continue out of the station in normal service.
14.9 When the bomb is reported on the right-of-way, OCC will order Train Operators on both tracks approaching the reported bomb location to stop their trains prior to reaching the affected area and await further instructions.
Employees discovering suspicious objects or packages will not touch, move or otherwise disturb the items pending examination and clearance by appropriate police, fire or military personnel.
Train Operators within or approaching a reported bomb location, and employees equipped with portable radios that are in the vicinity of discovered suspicious packages/objects, will discontinue all radio transmissions. If it becomes necessary to transmit by portable radio, a minimum distance of 150 feet must be maintained between the suspicious item and the radio transmitter.
When a bomb threat is received and the location and time are not given, OCC will issue the following instructions:
a. Station Managers shall inspect stations for any unattended objects or packages.
b. Designated employees shall inspect all train cars arriving at terminals for unattended objects or packages.
c. Train Operators shall observe the right-of-way for unusual objects or packages.
d. Employees discovering suspicious objects or packages shall secure the immediate area around the item and notify the Transit Police (related to section SOP 14.10).
14.13 Third rail power may be removed to permit qualified persons to inspect a reported bomb location. OCC will ensure that all non-affected trains have departed the area before removing third rail power.
14.14 OCC will initiate operating procedures to ease train congestion by turning trains, initiating a single track operation or Metrobus shuttle service.
14.15 When a prolonged delay in service is anticipated, OCC may turn trains at both ends of the suspected area and initiate terminal adjustments to ease train congestion.
When the bomb is found or the threat is nullified by authorized personnel and it is determined that it is safe to operate, OCC will:
a. request a restoration of third rail power after all persons are in the clear and aware that power is to be restored.
b. restore normal train service and notify all concerned departments.
Other items:
Metro Forward models are models (Examiner)
NY subway weekend ridership surges (NY Times)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Site Meter