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Liberty RadEx drill to test national clean-up and recovery efforts after mock ‘dirty bomb’ attack

Release Date: 04/26/2010
Contact Information: Terri White, 215-814-5100

PHILADELPHIA, (April 26, 2010) More than 700 personnel from federal, state and local agencies and the private sector are participating in a 5-day homeland security exercise that began today in Philadelphia. The exercise, called Liberty RadEx, is the largest drill of its kind sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to test the country’s capability to clean up and help communities recover from a dirty bomb terrorist attack. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and City of Philadelphia are co-sponsoring the drill.

Liberty RadEx portrays conditions at least 30 days after a radiological dispersion device was detonated in Independence National Park. The drill is unique in that it simulates the end of the emergency phase when response operations transition to new teams brought in to test areas for radiation contamination, determine cleanup plans, and help communities recover.

“Our first concern is that the public understands Liberty RadEx is a drill and the activities people might see at different locations are only simulations of what might happen in a real event,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “This exercise is significant because it will help inform how all levels of government, businesses and community organizations can work together to meet challenges associated with long-term cleanup and community recovery from a dirty bomb attack.”

“Intergovernmental exercises such as Liberty RadEx are essential in maintaining our ability to respond to events and for evaluating the effectiveness of our response plans,” said Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger. “DEP's Bureau of Radiation Protection will be participating throughout the week by providing staff, technical support, and expertise.”

“The LibertyRAD exercise marks another milestone in Philadelphia's preparedness efforts by evaluating how federal, state and local governments will work collaboratively following a disaster with the long-term devastating consequences a dirty-bomb attack causes,” said MaryAnn E. Tierney, deputy managing director for the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management. “Conducting the exercise in a densely populated urban area that is home to some of our nation’s most treasured historic sites and critical infrastructure will be a valuable learning experience for all involved.”

“An exercise of this magnitude offers an unprecedented opportunity to collaborate with our interagency partners. This exercise will provide a comprehensive assessment of our ability to coordinate and communicate with federal, state, and local responders,” said Rear Admiral Wayne E. Justice, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard 5th District.

The majority of Liberty RadEx ‘play’ will occur April 27–29 at venues in Philadelphia, and at one site in Ridley Park, Pa. Site visits and tours are available for the media and others interested in observing the exercise at these locations:

Sheraton City Center Hotel, 17th & Race Sts., serves as Incident Command Post, site of community involvement activities, and the temporary location of the City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management Emergency Operations Center

FEMA Region 3 Office, 615 Chestnut St., provides overall federal coordination and serves as the center of community recovery discussion.

Field venues where simulated assessment, mitigation, radiological safety, enforcement and field laboratory activities are taking place are:

Former Philadelphia Navy Yard where an inactive runway at the Navy Yard is the staging ground for exercise assets and equipment, and where simulation of roadway assessment activities will occur.

FDR Park, 2000 Pattison Ave., where workers wearing protective clothing and using GPS sampling devices offer a simulated depiction of how responders assess open areas for cleanup and community recovery.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay Base, One Washington Ave. on the Delaware River waterfront, where EPA and USCG personnel will demonstrate assessment of dock areas and the William S. Tate vessel for radiological contamination.

Philadelphia Water Department’s Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant, 3899 Richmond St., where assessment personnel and water treatment experts will simulate assessment of indoor and exterior areas, including rooftop areas.

Philadelphia Water Department’s Baxter Drinking Water Treatment Plant, 9001 State Rd., where personnel and water supply experts will simulate assessment of indoor and outdoor areas, drinking water treatment equipment and processes for radiological contamination.

Philadelphia Fire Academy, 5200 Pennypack St., will offer a demonstration of radiological “hotzone” assessment activities, mitigation activities and a simulation of assessment of postal facilities by the US Postal Inspection Service and other personnel.

Port Authority Transit Corporation’s Franklin Square Station (currently not in use), 200 N. 6th St., serves to simulate the assessment and cleanup of a subway station for radiological contamination by PATCO and other personnel.

Fort Mifflin National Historic Site, 1 Fort Mifflin Rd., where US park Service and other personnel will simulate the assessment of historic property.

The Boeing Company plant, Rt. 291 and Stewart Ave., Ridley Park, offers simulated law enforcement activity by FBI and EPA personnel.

EPA Region 3 Office, 1650 Arch St., where simulation of assessment of interior radiological contamination will take place.
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