NEW YORK — An emergency response drill that has caught the attention of conspiracy theorists begins in New Jersey on Monday night.

"Gotham Shield" is the name given to a multi-agency, real-time drill that starts Monday night and runs all week, involving a number of law enforcement and rescue agencies from New Jersey and the Northeast, according to

The "notional" drill will be based on the explosion of a nuclear device in West New York. A response center will be set up at MetLife Stadium on Tuesday, according to the report, in which rescue teams and equipment will be set up to respond to respond to casualties, but will not involve actual "actors" playing victims.

FEMA spokeswoman Lauren Lefebvre told on Sunday the purpose of the exercise is "to expand the ability at local and national levels to coordinate in effect a large-scale response and recovery to an event like this."

According to the website, which researches internet rumors, the drill first became known to the public last week with on a number of websites which believed the plan was in response to heightened tensions with North Korea, and could actually lead to a real disaster.

Many of those sites directed people to a post on the Health Care Association of New Jersey Facebook page that has since been removed because of "inappropriate comments."

"(Wednesday) we posted information for our members regarding an emergency exercise. Unfortunately, since that time, individuals not associated with our membership or profession have posted comments that are inappropriate for this Facebook page and could have the ability to impact the success of this exercise," a new Facebook post read. "Our apologies to our membership, other care providers, and those individuals and agencies who look to us to keep them informed about information affecting the long-term care profession."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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