Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service Assists With Super Bowl Safety Preparedness

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas Security has been tight in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII in both New York and New Jersey.

And disaster preparedness officials here in College Station had a big role in helping first responders prepare for any potential emergencies.

The TEEX Disaster City served as a training ground for a commuter train catastrophe.

This past year experts with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service helped first responders on the east coast by simulating a structure collapse at a train station and train derailment as part of the Super Bowl emergency planning preparations.

Super Bowl 48 is a commuter's Super Bowl.

With only 12,000 parking spots at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ most of the 80,000 fans have to get there by commuter train and bus.

And in the months leading up to the big game New Jersey Transit got some specialized training from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.

Hank Lawson is Director of Operations of the TEEX National Emergency Response & Rescue Training Center.

"Several groups of 20 or so people who came down on six different occasions for various types of rescue training. Their concern was basically their stations that were in the vicinity of the Super Bowl and if something did happen they were preparing their teams to provide a response," said Lawson.

TEEX members also traveled to New Jersey last October for a tabletop exercise simulating a severe snowstorm and other onsite planning for the event.

"Some of the players were New Jersey Department of Transportation sponsored it, but it included the Port Authority, New Jersey, Transit the Turnpike Authority. Folks from MetLife Stadium and the folks who are responsible for transportation for the Super Bowl," Lawson added.

Port Authority Police Chief Louis Koumoutsos says Sunday's game poses many challenges.

"The challenge there is moving them and keeping them safe," he said.

Michael Pascarella is with Federal Air Marshal Service.

"We have no specific threats. We are prepared as a team, as a group. We're specialists in what we do," said Pascarella.

And fortunately there were no major security incidents we are aware of at the game Sunday night.

But there were lots of long lines waiting for trains and stifling heat in packed train cars at what's being called the first commuter Super Bowl.

TEEX provides training for not only all 50 states but 73 countries as well.