As was announced earlier this year and started in August, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is continuing to assist the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) in testing safety sensors in MBTA stations in Cambridge
DHS S&T has developed a series of sensors that can rapidly detect biological material, and has installed these sensors in three MBTA stations (Davis, Harvard, and Porter). In order to be sure that these safety systems are performing effectively, several tests will be conducted using a harmless killed bacterium that is non-infectious and is approved as a food supplement.
These tests began in August and the next round of tests will begin in the early morning hours of October 24, 2012, with additional tests occurring periodically over the next year. Tests will be performed after hours when the MBTA stations are closed to the public. Signs will be posted in the MBTA stations one day before each scheduled test.
While these systems are being evaluated, Massachusetts public health officials will be working closely with DHS and the MBTA to monitor the results. The MBTA and DHS are coordinating all of these efforts with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Cambridge Public Health Department, and the Somerville Health Department, with support from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
The results from the testing will provide the necessary confidence to authorities that the sensor network will detect an incident. Questions regarding testing should be submitted to: MBTATest@hq.dhs.gov.