First responders tend to volunteer actors on the GO platform at Union Station during the emergenc...

Metrolinx-led mock disaster takes over Union Station

First responders and over 150 volunteers participate in simulation to test emergency preparedness.

Nov 4, 2019

It was a well orchestrated test in being prepared for the worst.

But for scores of volunteers, and first-responders testing tactics and strategies, an historic mock-disaster inside Toronto’s Union Station last weekend (Nov 2-3) was a vivid reminder that terrible and frightening things can happen in an instant.

The exercise was the biggest co-ordinated event ever held at Canada’s largest passenger train hub, revolved around a scripted scenario involving an active shooter on the premises.

For those being put through their paces – including volunteers wearing realistic makeup that simulated injuries – it was a critical and important test of timing and procedures.

Taking place in the middle of the night, as most of Toronto was sound asleep, only helped to test the mettle of those involved.

George Bell, Metrolinx vice president of safety and security, said prior to the event getting underway: “Safety is critical to everything we do at Metrolinx, and it is important to regularly test our emergency preparedness to ensure our staff and first-responders are ready in the event of any type of critical incident at Union Station.”

The event was hosted by Metrolinx, in partnership with Toronto Paramedic Services. The emergency exercise was also coordinated with partners at the City of Toronto, Toronto Police Services and Toronto Fire Services.

We thought we’d share some of the dramatic social media posts captured during the night. While only a mock disaster, these moments – and many more – will now be reviewed and evaluated, so responders will stand ready to quickly answer the call should make-believe become all too real.

It’s a busy night here at Union Station as we prepare for the largest joint agency emergency exercise in @Metrolinx history. @AMAwithAMA @fannie_sunshine and myself are helping media get all the shots they need.

— Scott Money (@sMoneyON) November 3, 2019

To see some of the media coverage of the event, click here.