Memo from ICHIEFS: Do Not Respond to WTC Scene

Yesterday I sent a message of patience. Today I must repeat that message. Patience is the order of the day. I have talked directly with command units on scene and they DO NOT need additional help. I have talked with at least two emergency responders who remained in staging for 24 hours and then within two hours of being deployed they were released to go home. Please don't respond to Internet requests for assistance. Please don't respond to requests for mutual aid to New York unless the request comes through the normal chain of command. Chain of command in this incident just like other major incidents is coordinated by those on the scene and then regionally coordinated by State Emergency Management Agencies and nationally by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs elected officers are in contact with each other through regular conference calls. Staff at headquarters are coordinating the dozens of phone calls and directing them to the proper authority. We have communicated with FEMA and with personnel at the White House. United States Fire Administrator Kenneth O. Burris is part of the FEMA management team coordinating and supplying needed resource. The resources necessary and requested are in place within New York City.

If and when additional units are needed by the FDNY, they will request those units through the normal command and control process that they have in place. FDNY is the largest fire department in the world, and although the death and injuries have devastated their department they carry on. The FDNY continues to respond to calls throughout the five boroughs to meet the needs of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Fire fighters may ask if the actions of Tuesday make it worth it. With our job there will always be more bad calls than good calls. It's the nature of what we do. To those who've never experienced the elation of the successful rescues, the scales seem to favor the losses. But we who understand know this couldn't be further from the truth. When we save one life, we affect so many more--the family and friends of those we save. We realize our efforts do balance the scales in our favor as we do not ever affect only one life-we touch all.

Fire fighters, paramedics, EMTs, police officers have long been admired for their courage, compassion and humanitarianism. They move heaven and earth to prevent disaster or save a life. Mr. Webster defines hero as a person noted for feats or courage and nobility, especially those who risk or sacrifice his or her own life. I, like many of you, are privileged to have known so many of those heroic fire fighters, officers and chiefs from New York City, and I am a better person for having known them.

Admiration, courage, compassion and respect-these are some of the words used to describe the individuals who put themselves at risk to save others. Blessedly, they are human and are vulnerable to the pain and suffering of those they serve. I urge each of you to take care of each other.

I urge each of you to remain calm, take care of your communities needs during these times. If and when assistance is needed, you will get the call.