FDNY Special Apparatus

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, destroyed a large portion of the FDNY’s special operations capabilities. More than 90 of the firefighters and officers killed that day were trained technicians assigned to rescue, squad and hazardous materials...


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• Reserve SOC Units – A fully equipped reserve rescue apparatus is quartered at Ladder 20 in Manhattan. A fully equipped reserve squad apparatus is stored at Engine 270 in Queens. A fully equipped reserve hazmat apparatus is stored at Engine 206 in Brooklyn. These units can be activated immediately with recall personnel. They are sometimes used for special events where a specific threat hazard has been identified.

• Decontamination Engines – Twenty-five engine companies have been trained to the hazardous materials operations level as well as in specialized decontamination. Their purpose is to support hazmat operations, and to perform decontamination for responders and exposed civilians. Level B suits, a tent and decontamination equipment are carried in the associated ladder company’s Rapid Response Vehicle.

• Incident Management Team (IMT) – Approximately 120 members have been trained to national standards to operate as a Type II Incident Management Team (IMT). They have been deployed outside the city several times for major national incidents and are used to manage major planned events in the city.

• Auxiliary Water System – The Auxiliary Water System was designed to replace water mains damaged in an attack, as happened at the World Trade Center. Components of the system can also be used at major dewatering operations. The system consists of three skid-mounted, large-capacity mobile pumping stations. These are fed by smaller, submersible pumps. A 2011 Kenworth T370 roll-off unit can transport the pumps, which are kept at Engine 159 on Staten Island, Ladder 20 in Manhattan and Rescue 3 in the Bronx. The satellite units and airport hose wagons are transitioning to six-inch hose to use with this system.

• Hazmat Battalion – Members are trained to the hazmat technician level and the unit responds to significant hazardous materials incidents, whenever Hazmat 1 or a Hazmat Technician unit responds.

• Portable-on-Demand (POD) – There are two 2004 Mack roll-off units and 10 pre-loaded containers of shoring material and collapse equipment. One unit is kept at the Fire Academy, while the other is quartered with Ladder 79 on Staten Island. Both have loaded containers attached. The other eight containers are strategically positioned at facilities throughout the city.