Lights, Camera, Accidents: Full-scale Training at the GWB

Photos and video by Rudy King, Media Relations Staff

The George Washington Bridge is the world’s busiest bridge, with more than 100 million vehicles crossing the span each year. That volume of traffic, under the best of circumstances, means a lot of accidents will occur – some simple fender-benders, others more serious and even deadly.

To prepare for worst-case scenarios, the GWB hosts periodic, full-scale emergency response drills, directed by the Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). These exercises bring together members of the Port Authority Police Department, the agency’s Operations staff and emergency response representatives of federal, state and local agencies.

The OEM creates these elaborate exercises, which take place at all Port Authority facilities, to test emergency plans for mutual aid response and enable personnel from different emergency response organizations to train together and validate response procedures.

With sirens blaring, lights flashing and radio communications squawking, the multi-agency response team conducted such an exercise on a recent early Sunday morning along the bridge’s lower level. Volunteer “actors” were sprawled across the roadway near flipped-over cars, in makeup that simulated car injuries. The scene seemed as much a live-action movie set as an emergency response drill designed to save lives and get medical attention quickly to those in need.

Check out the video and photos below for a deeper look at the high drama of a GWB training exercise:

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