NYPD to Test Subways This Summer for Possible Chemical Terrorist Attack

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Police in New York will be testing how a potential terrorist attack involving deadly gas could spread across the city's subway system. They will release a harmless gas into the subway this summer over a period of a few days to analyze how it travels.

They believe it will help them strengthen tactics for responding to things like chemical spills or terrorist attacks.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory will be helping the NYPD implement the test. It will occur during three nonconsecutive days in July.

"The NYPD works for the best, but plans for the worst when it comes to potentially catastrophic attacks such as ones employing radiological contaminants or weaponized anthrax," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

"This field study with Brookhaven's outstanding expertise will help prepare and safeguard the city's population in the event of an actual attack."

Though Manhattan had performed a similar test in 2005, this will be the largest one it has ever done. Similar tests have also been done in Boston and Washington D.C.

Police said they will warn residents prior to the tests and they do not expect traffic to be delayed.

"This study will bolster the NYPD's understanding of contaminant dispersion within the subway system as well as between the subway system and the street, thereby improving its ability to better protect both our customers and the city population at large," Fernadno Ferrer said, acting chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

A $3.4 million federal grant will fund the project.

Sources: NY Daily News, NY Post