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  1. #1
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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 09:56 AM.


  2. #2
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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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!

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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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    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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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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    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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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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  6. #6
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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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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    Forum Member allineedisu's Avatar
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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.

  10. #10
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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!!


  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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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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    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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    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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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.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
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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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