The city of Denton and the Denton County Transportation Authority will conduct a full-scale disaster drill on Friday at DCTA’s Downtown Denton Transit Center, which will cause a temporary suspension of DCTA’s A-train service.
The exercise – named “Operation Mercury Rising” – will simulate a large scale disaster to test the response capabilities and emergency operations of first responders, hospitals and other agencies, according to a city news release. The city conducts a full-scale disaster exercise each year to evaluate current response concepts, plans and capabilities, and test response systems for strengths and needed improvements.
Other departments and agencies participating in the full-scale disaster drill include: First Transit, Union Pacific Railroad, Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response, Denton Fire Department, Denton Police Department, Atrium Medical Center, Texas Health Presbyterian Denton, the Heart Hospital Baylor Denton and North Central Texas Council of Government.
“The annual disaster drill is an excellent way to test our emergency response capabilities,” said Denton Fire Chief Kenneth Hedges. “It is important to ensure that we are prepared and ready to respond in the event of a real-world event. We are also thankful that our community partners, like DCTA, UNT, and local hospitals, join us in working together to help protect the Denton community.”
About 100 students from the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University will serve as mock victims, and many will be transported from the scene by “walking wounded” DCTA buses to participating hospitals, according to the news release.
During the full-scale disaster drill, DCTA A-train service will be suspended. Bus operations will not be suspended, and the DDTC will be open and accessible during regular business hours.
DCTA riders needing to access the A-train during the drill can use the bus bridge DCTA will have in operation from the DDTC to the MedPark Station. Specific times for the A-train suspension and bus bridge schedule can be found at RideDCTA.net.
“Collaborating with the City of Denton for this full-scale disaster drill is a great opportunity for DCTA to test and evaluate our response and partner crisis communications strategy to demonstrate that we are prepared to respond effectively to ensure public safety,” said Jim Cline, DCTA President. “In addition, we have operational plans in place to make sure our riders can use our facilities and services to get to their desired destination during the exercise.”