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MassDOT, in conjunction with its Boston-area public safety partners, will hold an overnight training exercise on Tuesday, March 18 from 10pm until 2am on Wednesday, March 19 inside the Sumner Tunnel to simulate a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional response to a motor vehicle incident involving a fire and multiple injuries. The Sumner will be closed to traffic during the exercise known as Project ICITE (Integrated Communications Incident Tunnel Exercise).

 Project ICITE was developed by the MassDOT Highway Division to assess the impact of the loss of communications for first responders responding to a multiple vehicle incident in the Sumner Tunnel. The exercise will involve participation from transportation and public safety personnel assigned to Troop E and F of the Massachusetts State Police, the Highway Operations Center, the Highway Division District 6, Boston Fire Department, Boston Emergency Medical Services, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the Boston Transportation Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management.   

 The exercise will involve incident response and recovery in a simulated environment, including use of alternate modes of communication, extrication and rescue, fire fighting operations, life safety systems deployment, and recovery operations.   

Project ICITE began as a table-top exercise in 2012 and through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security advanced to a functional exercise in March 2013. The exercise sought to determine what alternative communication capabilities could be deployed and how quickly technicians could restore temporary capabilities in the event of radio communication failure during incident response in the Sumner Tunnel.

While response to the Sumner Tunnel will be deployed in real time, many activities will be simulated. Apparatus will be staged prior to the exercise, and trained volunteers will be acting as motorists impacted by the incident. Smoke machines will be used to simulate a fire environment and agencies will practice deployment of various life safety systems in the event of an actual incident of this nature.

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