Prepare Bravest for worst

FDNY will train to cope with terror


Counterterrorism training will be the FDNY's top priority for the next two years, according to a landmark plan prompted by the Sept. 11 attacks and slated for release today.

Hundreds more firefighters and medics will be trained to handle hazardous materials, a database of potential terrorist targets will be created and the department will hold monthly terrorism training exercises, according to the plan, obtained by the Daily News.

"I consider the strategic plan to be one of the most important documents the FDNY has ever produced," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta wrote in the report, which builds on recommendations based on an outside evaluation by McKinsey & Co. of the city's response to the World Trade Center attacks.

The McKinsey report calls for hiring more women and minorities, increasing support services for firefighters and their families after traumatic events and a command center equipped to manage large-scale incidents.

Among the recommendations:

Train 25 ladder companies and 25 medic crews to respond to chemical, biological and nuclear attacks, bumping to roughly 1,000 the number of FDNY workers capable of handling hazardous materials.

Create a database listing 150 potential terror targets citywide.

Conduct regular training sessions in conjunction with NYPD and Port Authority cops, as well as workers from hospitals and utilities.

Deploy the newly formed family assistance unit during large-scale emergencies to notify and counsel relatives and colleagues of firefighters who are injured, missing or dead.

Expand mentoring programs that target minorities and women and maintain contact with minorities who have passed firefighter exams but have not yet been appointed.

Create an electronic backup system to record critical details of every emergency to which the department responds.
Most of the training and new equipment will be paid for with federal funds, the report says.

Originally published on March 29, 2004