Security at record high for WWII Memorial ceremony
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Security will be at unprecedented levels for a National Mall event Saturday during the dedication of the National World War II Memorial, officials say.
The heightened security comes despite the lack of specific and credible threat information relating to the event.
More than 35 federal, state and local agencies have been involved in planning for the event, which began a year ago.
Some 1,000 law enforcement officers are expected to be at the dedication, in addition to special support and response teams. The U.S. Park Police is spearheading the security effort.
One medical official said they are ready for a mass casualty situation if "God forbid anything drastic were to occur."
Chemical and biological sensors already in place on the National Mall will be supplemented with radiological detection equipment, including radiation pagers on the belts of some law enforcement officers.
The U.S. Coast Guard will deploy a Maritime Safety Security Team, akin to a seaborne SWAT team, as well as the 87-foot cutter Albacore to patrol the Potomac River.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement will police the no-fly zone that already exists over the capital, and provide dogs that can sniff out explosives.
The U.S. Secret Service will provide intelligence support and bomb teams.
Just last week, all agencies with an operational role in security participated in an hour-by-hour run-through of the event.
According to a Homeland Security official, Metro buses and trains will be swept for explosives starting at 4 a.m. ET. Road closures will go into effect at 6 a.m. At the same time, pedestrian access points will be established. The event will not open to the public until 8 a.m.
More than 140,000 people, many of them elderly, are expected for the event. Because of the age and health concerns of the attendees, an enormous amount of effort has been devoted to transportation logistics and medical preparedness.
Emergency medical personnel will be stationed in the subways, in medical tents, and will patrol on bicycles carrying defibrillators.
Volunteers trained to spot signs of heat exhaustion and cardiac problems will roam the crowd.
Organizers fear the Washington heat and humidity could cause heat exhaustion among the elderly.
The memorial dedication is just the first in a series of high-profile events this summer that have security officials concerned. The G8 economic summit, Fourth of July celebrations, the political conventions, the Olympics in Greece and the election are also seen as possible terrorist targets.
Officials have expressed the concern that terrorists may strike before November in an attempt to disrupt the U.S. electoral process.