New York Mayor Orders Police, Fire to Work Together Under New Emergency Protocol

NEW YORK (AP) -- A day after police and fire officials clashed over how to respond to biological, chemical or radiological attacks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that anyone who doesn't follow the city's new emergency protocol will be out of a job.

''We're going to have everybody working together to protect the people of the City of New York, and anybody who doesn't feel that they can do that doesn't have to, but they just can't work here,'' Bloomberg told reporters on Tuesday.

He did not say he planned to fire Peter Hayden, chief of the fire department, who spoke out against the emergency plan adopted last month. Bloomberg allowed that there are ''differences of opinion'' but said he expected agencies in his administration to ''work together and follow the decisions that the mayor has made.''

Hayden said Tuesday that he was satisfied with the way he presented his argument at a City Council hearing and had no intention of causing trouble.

''We'll follow the document as it's written,'' he said. ''We will make sure that everybody follows it in the field.''

Hayden told council members Monday that the protocol is confusing in its structure and dangerous because it excludes the fire department from the top leadership in incidents involving hazardous materials and lets police take control.

''The fire department has to be involved equally at the command level, because people and first responders are going to be at risk,'' Hayden testified.

Bloomberg said he involved numerous officials and opinions in creating the protocol. Firefighters contend they are better trained and equipped than police officers to deal with hazardous materials, and in most cities the fire department commands those situations.

But Bloomberg said Tuesday that his decision to hand power to the police was based on the larger threat posed by a biological, chemical or radiological attack and that in such cases a law enforcement agency should be in charge.

He made it clear that he would not tolerate those who ignore the new protocol, saying that if agencies don't work together they will report to him.

''And I will do what's appropriate in terms of changing policies or anything else that is necessary,'' he said.

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