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Homeland Security funds first responder training event in Boston

Boston will be holding a 24-hour training session for emergency officials, letting them prepare for disaster situations such as bank robberies and hazmat decontaminations.
Boston will be holding a 24-hour training session for emergency officials, letting them prepare for disaster situations such as bank robberies and hazmat decontaminations.

Practice makes perfect.

That mantra is especially true when it comes to comprehensive disaster recovery planning. In times of crisis, whether it's Mother Nature wreaking havoc or cybersecurity threats to a company, a speedier recovery process will happen when the necessary preparations have taken place.

Massachusetts is taking that into consideration this weekend, with "Urban Shield: Boston," a 24-hour event designed to enhance the skills of public safety workers. It will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday and finish at 8 a.m. on Sunday, according to a press release from the Boston mayor's office.

"Training is vital for our first responders," Mayor Thomas Menino said in the statement. "They are on the frontlines when an emergency occurs, and we want them trained in the best ways possible to handle any situation."

The mayor's office went on to caution Boston residents that simulated gunfire could be heard over the weekend, but they should not worry. Tabletop exercises – including hazmat decontaminations, maritime operations, bank robberies and hostage situations – will all be done during that time. Some will even be performed multiple times.

The specific locations are spread throughout the city of Boston, including eight different hospitals, UMass Boston's campus and an MBTA station. Emergency officials participating in the scenarios are from Boston, the MBTA, Coast Guard, UMass Boston, and various other police departments and SWAT units. 

In order to keep individuals safe during a crisis, it's essential for first responders to know the best ways to perform necessary tasks. When communities perform tabletop exercises, they are taking important steps to ensure that disaster recovery will be able to happen as smoothly as possible. Pairing with a firm specializing in continuity of operations planning can help in this process.