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MTA Boosts Emergency Response Training

New York City Transit workers will receive additional security and emergency response training this week, officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said yesterday, with workers on the system's commuter railroads and bus lines to soon follow.

"The MTA's front-line employees are both our first line of defense and our first responders in case of emergency," said MTA chief Elliot Sander. "We have a responsibility to train our men and women for potential emergencies, and I believe this new course will help protect our entire system."

The half-day sessions include training on how to identify and report suspicious activities and deal with crises.

Approximately 28,000 staff members will receive the training, allowing them to function as on-scene responders during an emergency.

MTA officials said they expect it will take up to two years to train bus workers and about 18 months for subway employees. The railroads will begin similar training soon, the MTA said in a news release.

The course was prepared by consultants from the National Transit Institute, part of Rutgers University, and EAI Corp., part of Science Applications International Corp.

"It's heartening to see the MTA finally take a common-sense approach to terrorism in our transit system," said Roger Toussaint, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100. "For too long, we have stood by ourselves in demanding that transit workers are trained to react and respond to the dangers they face on the job every day. This initiative gives our members some of the tools they need to face the new reality of our transit system after 9/11."

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