FDNY Planning Anti-Terror Training

By William Murphy

November 15, 2003

The city is seeking to link its best emergency commanders with the best of the military to prevent and prepare for possible acts of terrorism.

The Fire Department said it wants its most highly motivated commanders to volunteer for an anti-terrorism training program with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The program would be open to fire battalion chiefs, supervising fire marshals and deputy chiefs and captains of the agency's ambulance service.

"Applicants should have records of achievement and motivation, and be committed to moving the department toward its goal of being prepared to meet the threats presented by terrorism," the department said in a memo that went out to all fire commands Thursday.

The Fire Department has come under criticism for not moving more aggressively against terrorism after Sept. 11.

Fire unions and others have pointed out that the department has not implemented many of the recommendations of its own consultant.

The consultant recommended, among other things, that the department create a second hazardous materials unit and expand its marine division - steps the department has not taken.

The department memo announcing the training program appeared to bolster the department's image when it comes to anti-terrorism - an area that has been dominated by the Police Department for the past two years.