TriMet, TSA drill simulates attack at Providence Park

The drill simulated a chemical attack over the stadium

TriMet and TSA held a full-scale emergency response drill around Providence Park on October 10, 2017. (KOIN)
TriMet and TSA held a full-scale emergency response drill around Providence Park on October 10, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — If you noticed a heavy police and fire response near Providence Park Tuesday night, don’t worry — it was just a drill.

TriMet worked with the Transportation Security Administration to simulate a mass-casualty or injury event to better prepare emergency crews for the real thing. Tuesday’s training simulated a chemical attack by drone over the stadium.

This drill was scheduled almost a year ago and was actually supposed to happen in September but was delayed due to the number of first responders fighting the Eagle Creek Fire, TriMet said.

While it was not a response to the events in Las Vegas, that real life event makes staged ones like this so important.

“In reality there would be 21,000 people in there, right?” Michael Irwin with TSA said. “And it would be a lot more chaotic than it is now, so again, this about trying to think through process.”

The purpose of the drills is to save lives and the officials who orchestrate them say it works.

“They absolutely save lives and we’ve seen that over and over again,” Irwin said.

The drill gives local agencies a chance to get experience they hope they’ll never have to use

“How do you prepare for a situation where there is a lot of moving parts and chaos?” Irwin said. “The way you do that is know who you gotta call, know where people get together, know where you need to move people out and the logistics that go with that.”

The drill closed streets around Providence Park for several hours and detoured 2 TriMet bus lines — the 15 and 63.