UTA training simulates terrorist bombing of FrontRunner commuter train

LAYTON, Utah -- The Utah Transit Authority teamed up with first responders across the valley Sunday morning to simulate how they would respond if a FrontRunner train were to be bombed by terrorists.

The train line doesn’t run on Sundays, allowing UTA plenty of time to set up the simulation in Layton, rescue as many “victims” as they could, and send in the bomb squad to deal with “explosives.”

First responders systematically cleared each rail car, walking over dead bodies, carrying out anyone who couldn’t walk. Volunteers wore makeup and posed as victims. Even though many of them chose to volunteer for fun, they realized they were helping first responders train for a very serious situation.

“I had bleeding from the nose, bleeding from the ears, a bruise, contusion on my arm,” said volunteer actor William Forrest. “From what we know, it was a bomb that went off and it ended up derailing the FrontRunner.”

“A lot of what they were working on was communication,” said Carl Arky, spokesman for UTA. “You never know when something like this might happen. There was that shooting at the synagogue outside of San Diego yesterday. You don’t ever know. You have to be ready.”

UTA puts on a different simulation every year, this year choosing Layton for the location. The goal is to get as many agencies involved as possible.

Many of the “victims” said first responders did a great job. Even Megan Christensen, a woman who said she was initially misdiagnosed during the training, was encouraged by the way they handled the disaster.

“I think they did a great job,” she said. “But I think it’s really important they get the practice before it’s someone else who could have actually died waiting to be tagged properly.”

Arky said the best way to deal with emergency situations like this is to prevent them. That’s why he urged anyone who witnesses something suspicious to immediately notify UTA. Officers would rather respond to a false alarm than respond when it’s already too late.

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