New York Fire Department Improved Since 9/11

Since the attacks of 9/11, and the loss of 343 firefighters, the New York Fire Department underwent serious changes to better prepare them in case another large-scale rescue mission is needed.

While there has not been another catastrophic event occur with the magnitude of 9/11, it doesn’t mean that the FDNY hasn’t been busy saving lives.

In the past 10 years, the FDNY has only lost seventeen firefighters in the line of duty, down about 32% from the decade prior to the 9/11 attacks. Serious injuries are also down. These improvements are the direct results of the department’s better safety training procedures for its firefighters.

The FDNY is not the only fire department making changes because of the events of 9/11. According to the Assistant Chief of the Franklinton Fire Department in Louisiana, Randall Dykes, Franklinton firefighters are “taking classes about mass destruction” to inform and prepare them for any future occurrences.

One of the many lessons that Dykes has learned from the 9/11 events is that it’s important to have better communications.

All procedures of the FDNY have been revamped, including its past problem with communication, which was the primary cause for many of the firefighters’ deaths on September 11th.

On that day, many firefighters showed up directly at the World Trade Center instead of first meeting at their command center. Inside the tower, many of the firefighters lost radio communication with their commanders, and were therefore unable to hear evacuation orders and remained trapped inside the burning building.

According to, some of the casualties include: Battalion Chief Orio Palmer, First Deputy Commissioner William M. Feehan, and Chief of Department Peter Ganci.

The FDNY has done everything they can to assure that losses of that magnitude will not happen again.

The New York Fire Department has hired and trained thousands of firefighters since the attacks of September 11. Merely two and a half years after the event, more than 2,600 firefighters were taken in and shown procedures, along with hundreds more firefighters taking an early retirement.

Tracking devices are a hope for the near future. Firefighters will be able to be tracked from the instant they step off of an engine. In addition, a computer program will be able to track relayed mayday messages from a device they are given as they are deployed for duty.

On-scene procedures have since been changed. For major fires, the department has a battalion chief placed in a police helicopter above the scene to relay information to the fire crews below.

In the event of another major catastrophic occurrence, the department will be much more orderly and efficient when dealing with it. The FDNY would even hold some units back in case of other fires that would occur during the same time. According to the Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department, Nicholas Scoppetta, “Today’s FDNY is–without question–better prepared, better trained and better equipped than ever before. We continue to improve public safety and enhance the many services that FDNY provides to New Yorkers.”


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