Creating a training environment that captures a person's attention and mirrors a real-life atmosphere is almost a mandatory training requirement in a modern age of technology and creative design. Recently the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) introduced an impressive addition to their adult-learning environment: A cityscape that models a city block, complete with buildings, sidewalks and a two-lane street made of rubber.

The planning has been ongoing for the better part of three years, and the area stretches more than 10,000 square feet. Located in the Advanced Responder Training Complex (ARTC), the urban area is the CDP's newest training enhancement. It's conveniently located next to the subway system venue in the same complex.

"We converted a high bay warehouse to a two-story street scene with first floor functional offices that include a newsstand, shipping store, corner bar and a political campaign office," said Grant Bissey, CDP training specialist. "It also includes a subway exit that will feed into the street entrance, Italian restaurant, pharmacy, doctor's office, police substation, sidewalk, alleyways and loading docks. The second story apartments and shops are replicated by tapestry facades."

Emergency Medical Operations (EMO) and two hazardous materials courses will use the street scene in training. The tapestries replicate an actual scene in lower Manhattan, New York City. The images were taken in late 2012 by CDP staff members who were deployed in support of the Hurricane Sandy response. According to Bissey, the setting is a realistic scene with functional businesses and office space.

"This is an all-hazards response training venue that can be used for multiple courses in all-weather conditions since it is completely indoors," said Bissey. "The street scene also allows access to the subway railcar system we created last year. We plan to include a shoeshine stand, turnstiles, ticket machines, subway maps and a control room that will control light, smoke and sound effects."

The CDP Training Department plans to integrate the street scene into training with the next 30 days and will continue to add props and other appearance modifications over the next three months to make the scene even more realistic.