Gas masks to be kept on Metro carriages

Athens Metro officials intend to buy thousands of gas masks that will be stored in trains for use by passengers and personnel in the event of a terrorist chemical or biological weapons attack, a report said yesterday. According to the story in To Vima daily, a total of 24,000 masks, as well as 15 portable explosives and dangerous chemicals detectors, will be bought to boost security on the three-and-a-half year old underground network ahead of next summer’s Olympics. The masks will also serve to protect passengers from asphyxiation in the case of fire. Each metro carriage will contain 175 tightly packaged masks, To Vima said. The metro network currently comprises 20 stations, while an extra four are planned for completion before the Games start in August 2004. Security is provided by a 142-strong force of armed policemen, as well as private guards.