Metrolinx-led mock disaster takes over Union Station for active shooter exercise

First responders, and more than 150 volunteers, participate in simulation at transit hub (Nov 2-3) to test and improve emergency preparedness. While only a scenario, it was as real as possible. The night played out not only inside Union Station but also over social media with dozens of people documenting the action. We’ve captured a sample in the story below. Please note – while these images depict an imaginary situation, some people may find them disturbing. 

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.

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

First responders tend to volunteer actors on the GO platform at Union Station during the emergency exercise. (Photo by David Richie).

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.

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