New York Takes Aim at Terrorism With Odorless Gas Release in Subway

There was more gas than usual on the New York City subway system Tuesday morning, if that's even possible.

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AP

There was more gas than usual on the New York City subway system Tuesday morning, if that's even possible, because the police department was running a precautionary test for potential chemical or biological terrorist attacks. The test gas was "odorless," so if the guy beside you on the train tried to blame the NYPD for the smell, then he was lying. 

Around 8 a.m., specially placed boxes released the harmless, odorless tracer gas perfluorocarbons into the subway tunnels. The goal is to trace how a chemical or gas attack would spread through the subway system so the police department is better prepared should if an attack like that ever occurs. The idea is to help police know where to go and how to respond to help people as quickly as possible and contain any attack. 

It's a worst-case-scenario kind of exercise, but also a necessary one. "It's planning for the worst and hoping we don't ever have to use it," NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told WNYC. "When you are able to map a hazardous material in the air, it gives first responders information they need." It's in the earnest interest of preparation. But some cynical citizens of Gotham didn't risk taking the chance with the suspect subway test: 

Others figured the "harmless, odorless" gas would just smell like a regular subway ride:

And, of course, there were fart jokes: 

New Yorkers are so immature. Stay safe out there, kids. 

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

  • Connor Simpson is a former staff writer for The Wire. His work has appeared in Business Insider and City Lab.