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    Default NYPD in charge of HAZMAT????

    NEW YORK TIMES
    April 22, 2005

    New Terrorism Response Plan Angers Fire Dept.
    By MICHELLE O'DONNELL

    Days before New York City is to make public its plan for managing the emergency response at major disasters, senior Fire Department officials still have grave concerns about the part of the plan that gives the Police Department primary responsibility at the scene of a biological or chemical attack.

    The Fire Department, in a 21-page February memo to the city's Office of Emergency Management signed by Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, said that allowing the Police Department to control agencies at the scene of such an attack "jeopardizes public safety."

    Fire officials, both in the memo and in more recent meetings with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, argued that their department had the expertise, the training and the highly specialized units to direct the response at such a disaster.

    In an interview this week, Chief of Department Peter Hayden, the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the Fire Department, said that while the department would follow the new protocol, the city's decision to grant the police primacy at such emergency scenes was one element of a still dangerously flawed emergency response plan.

    "If the question was posed today - would the response at a terrorist incident be different than it was on 9/11? - the answer would have to be no," Chief Hayden said. "Now if that isn't a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is."

    Fire officials say they should be among the commanders leading such responses because they have been handling hazardous-materials incidents for decades. They also say they have more sophisticated equipment to contain chemical or biological materials and more experience identifying such substances, and are uniquely prepared to direct lifesaving efforts.

    Mr. Bloomberg, according to city officials, formally signed the executive order governing the control of disaster responses on April 11. The response plan gives the Police Department the authority to direct the work of the city's emergency agencies at virtually every major disaster scene involving hazardous materials, at least until the threat of terrorism has been eliminated. City Council hearings on the plan are set for May 2.

    Despite his earlier objections to the newly adopted emergency response plan, known formally as the Citywide Incident Management System, Mr. Scoppetta said yesterday that it was now his job to try to make it work.

    Edward Skyler, a spokesman for the mayor, said Mr. Bloomberg consulted with both departments before signing the protocol. "The mayor got a great deal of input from different perspectives," Mr. Skyler said, "but ultimately it's his job to make a decision, and that's what he did."

    The Police Department would not comment yesterday on the emergency response plan.

    The city's effort to work out a binding emergency response plan has been hampered by the longstanding rivalries and mistrust that have plagued relations between the departments for decades. A variety of city and federal inquiries into the city's emergency response at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, while acknowledging acts of extraordinary bravery, found fault with the planning and performance of the departments, citing poor communication, a lack of discipline and coordination, and the absence of a unified command structure. One of the federal investigations suggested that those problems contributed to the deaths of numerous rescuers.

    But Chief Hayden said this week that more than three years after the trade center disaster, the Police and Fire Departments had so far failed to take advantage of even one of the most basic plans for how to better coordinate efforts at the scene of a terrorist attack: using a shared radio frequency that would permit commanders of the two departments to communicate directly.

    The Fire Department's concern, even anger, over the new response plan is no surprise. Over the last two years, as meetings were held and draft versions of the plan were drawn up, the department has expressed worry about losing its command role at some emergencies.

    The department's worries deepened as the plan moved toward a final form. Mr. Scoppetta and Chief Hayden met in person with Mr. Bloomberg in recent months to express their concerns.

    Indeed, in its memo outlining its criticism of the plan, the Fire Department said the idea of having the police in charge of hazardous material incidents was in direct opposition to the protocols for a shared command structure formulated by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

    Under the city's new plan, fire personnel would be involved in tackling any biological or chemical attack, performing many of the duties they have been trained to do. But police officials would be the commanders at the scene, ultimately responsible for making critical operational decisions.

    In almost all other American cities, though, incidents involving the release of hazardous material are handled by fire departments, and it is their officials who command firefighters in the field, fire officials say. The police typically respond to the scene to help secure the perimeter and to assist with investigation. These roles hold fast regardless of whether the release was accidental or intentional. Funny the Mayor and his political hacks always like to spout that every other city in the country doesn't have 5 man companies and doesn't work spit tours...to him what goes on in the rest of the country is appropriate but when it comes to this he doesn't seem to care. Quite the flip flop.

    City fire officials said their command roles at other incidents - fires and building collapses - would be unchanged even if such an incident was found to have been intentional. They said that removing hazardous material incidents from their command was inconsistent with the city and national models.

    In his February memo, Mr. Scoppetta suggested that the Police Department had never believed in developing a plan for the two agencies to truly share command at major disasters. He pointed to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly's testimony to the City Council in 2002 when Mr. Kelly said he did not believe that the management model used by the federal government and other cities was appropriate for New York City.

    In the same document, Mr. Scoppetta said that the police not only are less equipped and skilled at handling hazardous materials incidents, but they often failed to appear at them altogether. In a letter from a police official to the Office of Emergency Management that became public last year, the police stated that they should have control of any incident that could possibly be a crime scene. The letter stated that the lead agency should be one that could "manage the entire incident" rather than the "agency with the expertise to resolve one or more specialized aspects of the incident." Funny to every other expert out there the police only have the ability to secure the perimitter and investigate the aftermath. To me that sounds like one or more of the specialized aspects

    Yesterday, Joseph Bruno, the commissioner of the management office, acknowledged that most cities handle the command of hazardous materials incidents in another way, but he added: "In New York City, we're going in this direction. No one said you can't do it the other way, but we think this is the right way." He should restate Ray Kelly thinks this is the right way!

    William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting for this article.
    Last edited by FFFRED; 04-22-2005 at 10:56 AM.

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    Fred,
    is it NYPD that will be in charge, or NYPD ESU? because while the patrol officers (NYPD) might only secure the scene, I can imagine ESU does a little bit more.

    that being said, does NYPD currently have a hazmat team? are any of their members trained to the hazmat technician level? any at the hazmat specialist level? do they currently have any equipment?

    will the police now be handling the stablization of the scene and the mitigation of the hazmat instead of the FD? or will FD be doing the work, under the command of a PD officer?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

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    Down here in Louisiana, the State Police are responsible for any haz-mat incident in the rural areas. They have contracted spill response folks that respond with them. Most rural and small city fire departments have no hazardous materials training and carry no hazardous materials equipment with the exception of gas meter plugs.
    If the call goes into the state police, the FD is usuallyu not even dispatched unless there is a fire or threat of a fire, and even in that case we just standby and generally take no action unless told to by LSP. If it goes to the local dispatch, we are usually toned but since we have no training or equipment, we only act if there is a fire threatening structures or a life threat. And most of the fire departments like it that way and have no interest in changing the system. I beleive the larger cities do have thier own hazmat teams, but the State Police still respond a assume control of the incident from the fire department upon thier arrival.

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    Fred,
    is it NYPD that will be in charge, or NYPD ESU? because while the patrol officers (NYPD) might only secure the scene, I can imagine ESU does a little bit more.

    that being said, does NYPD currently have a hazmat team? are any of their members trained to the hazmat technician level? any at the hazmat specialist level? do they currently have any equipment?

    will the police now be handling the stablization of the scene and the mitigation of the hazmat instead of the FD? or will FD be doing the work, under the command of a PD officer?
    While these are good questions, don't you think revealing an areas capabilities might be a little sensitive in todays anti-terror climate?

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    If Bloomberg wants to continue to receive federal funding through Homeland Security, then he'd better fix this and fast.
    The process as outlined will be squarely at odds with the principles of unified command and will violate any agreement to use NIMS in a major incident.
    I don't see things getting any better between the NYPD and the FDNY any time soon.
    You'd think someone in that city could get it right.
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    I feel sorry for any and all FD's that have such a "bad" working relationship with their local PD's.

    Good Luck guys.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    It appears that NYC still hasen't realized the difference between "crisis management" and "consequence management".

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    Unhappy

    Originally posted by bhumphreys
    It appears that NYC still hasen't realized the difference between "crisis management" and "consequence management".

    This comes from someone with 14 posts and knows nothing about the FDNY!!!!



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    Originally posted by allineedisu



    This comes from someone with 14 posts and knows nothing about the FDNY!!!!


    What does his post count have to do with anything? How do you know what he knows about the FDNY? It sounded to me like he was sticking up for the FDNY.

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    bhumphreys
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    It appears that NYC still hasen't realized the difference between "crisis management" and "consequence management".


    I must have read it differently than what you read.

    As far as that goes, you don't know what I KNOW about the FDNY, NYPD and NYC either!!


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    Why are FDNY and NYCPD unable to work togather. But I do thank that FDNY shood remain in control of HAZ-MAT for the fact they been doing longer if the NYCPD wount to put some Officers in there team then why not it is not going to hurt nothing.
    Can I quote you on this? I'd like to send it to the city council and Mayor's office. You seem to have put this in a perspective they can understand.

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    You are distorting the article. There is no policy that the NYPD is in charge at a haz mat. It says it is in charge at the scene of a biological or chemical attack.

    A biological or chemical attack is a criminal act. The NYPD should be in charge. It does not mean that the FDNY cannot work and wouldn't be in charge of what they do. But the overall command should be with law enforcement, since it is clearly a crime.

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    Hey if they want it, they can have it. Coptometer anyone??
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

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    HOOK N' CAN of the I.A.C.O.J.

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    Originally posted by E229Lt


    Can I quote you on this? I'd like to send it to the city council and Mayor's office. You seem to have put this in a perspective they can understand.
    Now that was funny
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    A biological or chemical attack is a criminal act. The NYPD should be in charge. It does not mean that the FDNY cannot work and wouldn't be in charge of what they do. But the overall command should be with law enforcement, since it is clearly a crime.
    How about arson George? Is that not a crime as well?

    The city council has this on their agenda in about 2 weeks. We'll see what happens then.

    FTM-PTB

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    Originally posted by ccvfd114
    E229Lt

    I dont care but i'm not sure what a statement is going to do for you. But it could help why not. If there city council and Mayor's office is like are's good luck
    I think you're off on what he was trying to say........

    Here's a clue for you.........



    Check your spelling and grammar.......
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    Just another reason why the rest of the nation and/or world should not use NYC as an example for anything emergency related.

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    Sorry. did not thank some one had to be prefect to post on here

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    Originally posted by ccvfd114
    Sorry. did not thank some one had to be prefect to post on here
    I dont thank ewe kneed two bee purfict eether, butt it helps if peeple kan undrstand watt ewe our treyeing too say......
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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    That is fine firenresq77, The next time i'll take the time to post i'll be sure to read over my post. Be safe

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    Wouldn't having NYPD in charge of HazMat incidents just make a better indicator as to the severity of the spill to the FDNY guys that actually have to mitigate the incident?
    -Bozz

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    Originally posted by FFFRED


    How about arson George? Is that not a crime as well?

    The city council has this on their agenda in about 2 weeks. We'll see what happens then.

    FTM-PTB

    I knew someone would say that.

    Arson is not (usually) determined until the fire is out.

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    Originally posted by fdmhbozz
    Wouldn't having NYPD in charge of HazMat incidents just make a better indicator as to the severity of the spill to the FDNY guys that actually have to mitigate the incident?
    Yeah. Did you see that post on the Off Duty forum where 50 cops went to the hospital from a haz mat incident.......?????

    Oh. Never mind.

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    So; then it's agreed.
    NYPD will command all of the crime related activities of the bio/terrorism attack. Bomb squad can continue to look for secondary devices.
    FDNY will command all of the HAZMAT mitigation related activities of the bio/terrorism attack.
    And when everyone is released, they will gather in a circle, holding hands, thank St. Michael and St. Florian and then go for cookies and punch.
    I'm getting verklempt.
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    I knew someone would say that.

    Arson is not (usually) determined until the fire is out.
    Neither are Haz-Mat situations in most cases. Isn't that why they are pushing this investigation thing as the reason they should be in charge? Remember that explosion in Chelsea last year? The cops would be in charge until they determined that it wasn't terrorism...every release of Clorine,(insert chemical name here), etc. would also be a PD incident until they determined it wasn't terrorism. If we have to show up and ask for permission to do our job from persons who aren't as experienced and unfamiliar with our operations there will be problems and this will endanger all people who live, work, visit the 5 boros.

    What this all comes down to is CA$H and Ray Kelly wants it all. The Feds are dumping loads of money and he wants the lions share. Cops get tons of training on OT. FD...we'll put your company OOS for the day. We have the equipment already...PD wants to play catch-up and get more duplication of services in this supposedly cash strapped city.

    A number of PD guys think this stuff is a joke...well we'll see how much of a joke they think it is when they are sent in. Well this isn't going to be like the RMP taking a mark for haz-mat when they pull up outside a gas leak! This isn't going to be collecting BS stats as they are accustomed too.

    This whole thing is so typical of PD operations...the higher your rank the farther from the danger you get. PD bosses don't get injured or killed in most cases. Whereas FD bosses are the first in and last out as a matter of duty. While they(the ones in command) stand outside the bad area Us the FD (who are actually putting our asses on the line) are sent in. Funny they want the command but not the whole thing?

    The next time the big one happens we'll see how many cops we see in the HotZone! (ones that weren't initial victims of the attack anyhow.)

    They want it they can have it...I don't get paid any extra for that work and if they think it is all that much fun...then more power to them.

    ===================================
    Fire union blasts emergency plan

    BY DAN JANISON AND WILLIAM MURPHY
    STAFF WRITERS

    April 22, 2005, 7:05 PM EDT

    If the World Trade Center attack occurred today, the city would be no better prepared to respond to the emergency, the two main firefighting unions said Friday.

    Their comments came as Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed that he signed an executive order on April 11 giving police control over most emergencies except fires and structural collapses. Police would be in charge of any incident that involved the possible presence of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials.

    The protocol makes New York the only major American city that puts police rather than firefighters in charge of incidents where such hazardous materials might be involved.

    The highest-ranking uniformed member of the Fire Department, Chief of Department Peter Hayden, said the mayor's decision "jeopardizes public safety."

    Hayden made his comments in a story in Friday's New York Times, and it was unclear why he waited to make any public comment until well after a mayoral decision had been made.

    The Fire Department declined to comment on Hayden's statement.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly pressed for police control, arguing that New York was the only American city hit by terrorism twice and had a large department equipped to handle such incidents. Oh really? You can handle such incidents..equiped to do so? I can assure you if I ever end up in the hot zone the only cops I see there will be the ones intially caught in the blast, chemical release, etc.

    The executive order puts the city in compliance with federal regulations and makes it eligible for federal funding from the Department of Homeland Security. The compliance is self-certifying this year, but Homeland Security must certify localities next year, said Jared Bernstein, a spokesman for the Office of Emergency Management. We'll get to see what they think next year...my money is on DHS telling the city to try again.

    "We will be the only Fire Department in America not in charge of large-scale incidents like the World Trade Center," said Stephen Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. "For us to report to Police Department to do our job is outrageous."

    Peter Gorman, the president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said the protocols still do not address problems identified by the national 9/11 commission last year.

    "When terrorists strike, a fire is usually included," Gorman said. "The NYPD is not the agency to mitigate this." Bloomberg cited terrorism as his motivation in giving police command.In case any one was unaware the city charter places us in command and control of any incident in the City or Bay of New York that involves fire, this document is conflicted with the city charter.

    "The Fire Department comes in and does the life-saving. That's what they're trained to do. They then stand aside and the police are in charge during the investigation of whether or not it's terrorist or criminal," the mayor said on his weekly radio show on WABC/770 AM.

    "When they finish their investigation and say they have no further need to collect data or whatever, then the Fire Department comes in and does the cleanup," he said.

    The new rules will be the subject of a City Council committee hearing on May 2.
    Copyright 2005, Newsday, Inc.
    Last edited by FFFRED; 04-23-2005 at 11:51 AM.

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