Subway riders may be alarmed this month to find men with guns releasing gas throughout the subway system. But don’t worry, the NYPD is just conducting a $3.4 million test which will test how an biological attack might work if it were to happen in the New York City Transit System.
The test funded by the Federal Department of Homeland Security hopes to gather data on weaknesses and disbursement time so that the NYPD can adequately respond to a potential attack. Air sampling equipment set up by researchers from Brookhaven National Laboratory will measure the released harmless gases known as perfluorocarbons at several subway and street areas in Manhattan for about 30 minutes to track dispersal patterns.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement that about 200 sampling devices will be set up during the study to take measurements. After about a two-hour period for equipment placement, the study is expected to begin at around 8 a.m. Tuesday. Two more days of research will also take place at later dates this month.
“The NYPD works for the best, but plans for the worst when it comes to potentially catastrophic attacks such as ones employing radiological contaminant or weaponized anthrax,” Kelly said. “This field study with Brookhaven’s outstanding expertise will help prepare and safeguard the city’s population in the event of an attack.”
About 5 million passengers ride the subway system every day in the city, and police and security experts have long recognized its vulnerabilities to attack.