A host of federal and local agencies began conducting nuclear response drills in the New York and New Jersey area on Monday as part of a four-day long FEMA-led exercise known as Gotham Shield 2017.
The drills, which are theoretical and do not involve actual volunteers posing as victims, will simulate a scenario in which a 10,000 ton improvised nuclear device goes off on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel, FEMA spokeswoman Lauren Lefebvre told Gothamist. MetLife Stadium will serve as the primary response center, and the event will be "focused on interagency and multi state coordination during a nuclear incident," Lefebvre said.
The various drills will bring federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, FBI, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers together with state and local entities like the Greater New York Hospital Association and ambulance response teams from across New Jersey.
McCabe Ambulance, one of those response teams, will set up at MetLife, where "some thousand imaginary victims of a nuclear incident will be triaged, decontaminated, treated for injuries including burns and transported," Mickey McCabe told NJ.com on Sunday. Those drills do not involve actual equipment, though "virtual decontamination tents" will be set up by firefighters, according to North Hudson Fire Department Chief Frank Montagne.
The preparedness exercises are not, Lefebvre stressed, related to recent concerns about nuclear missile tests in North Korea. "This is something that's been planned well in advance of anything going on in current climate," Lefebvre said. "It's just a test of our ability to communicate across federal, state, and local levels."
Still, the preparedness drills have some patriotic, paranoid Americans alarmed, with InfoWars.com publishing an article declaring that a "False flag watch is now active. A general alert is out for something major in the near or immediate future. Hopefully, it is just another false alarm, instead of another false flag. Either way, and danger is at hand."
That theory, which has spread to corners of the conservative and End Times blogospheres, speculates that the government could plan on "hijacking and converting the simulated actions," in a manner similar to what "many researchers believe was at work on the day of 9/11."
There is also a video making the rounds on Reddit, causing some commenters to worry that the government could make a fake nuclear blast seem real, perhaps as some sort of false-false-flag event? In any event, the Redditors have encouraged each other to exercise caution and maybe consider leaving town.
Asked about the rumors, Lefebvre said that she was aware of them, but declined to comment.