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March 1, 2014

Go Big, Go Early, Go Fast and Be Smart: Fifth Alarm at Manhattan Box 1626

When Craig Fugate became Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in May 2009, he pushed his organization to change their disaster response to “go big, go early, go fast and be smart.” Not surprising that with a firefighting background, this motto was adopted from […]
March 1, 2014

Man in the Mud: Rescue Medical Care

Editors Note: This is part of a 4-Part Series entitled Man in the Mud. See feature article. I was the second EMS Officer to arrive (after EMS Lieutenant Fred Desarno) at the incident at approximately 2040 hours. Lieutenant Desarno, acting as the initial Medical Branch Director, […]
March 1, 2014

Man in the Mud: Comfort and Support

Editors Note: This is part of a 4-Part Series entitled Man in the Mud. See feature article. By prior arrangement, on the evening of March 19, 2013, I was at Fire Department Headquarters. The initial call for a construction worker trapped in the Second Avenue subway […]
March 1, 2014

Man in the Mud: Victim Removal

Editors Note: This is part of a 4-Part Series entitled Man in the Mud. See feature article. On arrival, Chief Hayde observed a construction worker trapped up to his chest in a clay and water slurry solution. Ladder 43 personnel had secured him with a lifesaving […]
March 1, 2014

Man in the Mud: FDNY Rescues Sandhog from Bull’s Liver at Second Avenue Subway Excavation Site

Whosoever saves a single life saves an entire universe.–taken from the Talmudic Tractate Sanhedrin 4:5, as referenced/verified by Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, FDNY Chaplain. Initial response On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at 2033 hours, units were assigned to respond to Manhattan Box 1233 (a medical emergency; male […]
March 1, 2014

Door Control Key at Bronx 10-77

In recent years, the importance of ventilation at “modern-age” fires has been stressed on FDNY members and the seriousness of this factor cannot be taken lightly. Although controlling the door and wisely venting windows have been drilled into all members since basic fire behavior lessons in […]
March 1, 2014

What’s Behind that Door?

While conducting building inspection safety program (BISP), members of Ladder 156 inspected a seven-story, fireproof multiple dwelling. The building was newly constructed. Inspection started on the seventh floor. Members observed an elevator in the middle of a small hallway that served two apartments per floor. Additionally, […]
March 1, 2014

Command Channel Communications Crucial at Brooklyn Fourth Alarm

The Williamsburg section of Brooklyn has undergone an astounding transformation in recent years with new buildings appearing on every corner almost overnight. This area has one of the highest concentrations of buildings under Construction, Demolition and Abatement (CDA) in the 11th Division. While the old are […]
December 1, 2013

Bureau of Technology Development & Systems

Post-9/11, FDNY has taken broad steps to advance public safety through the use of technology. Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano has stressed that smart investments in technology can save lives. At a recent meeting of the Honorary Fire Officers Association at the Fire Academy on Randall’s […]
December 1, 2013

Bureau of Fire Prevention

Since the 9/11 attacks, serious incidents and fires–coupled with the subsequent recommendations from studies and Task Forces, resulting in changes to the Building and Fire Codes–the Bureau of Fire Prevention has developed a number of new initiatives. The newly created Emergency Planning and Preparedness Section includes […]
December 1, 2015

Happy Land Social Club Fire: 25 Years Later

Early in the morning of March 25, 1990, the loud booming rhythms that characterized the dance music scene of the 1980s and ‘90s were interrupted by the sounds of terror and panic. An intentionally set fire in the Happy Land Social Club claimed the lives of […]
December 1, 2015

Another Take on Situational Awareness

We have heard the term situational awareness many times, but what does it really mean? The generally accepted definition states that it is having the ability to identify, mentally process and comprehend critical elements of information that surround you; may affect you, your team and your […]
December 1, 2015

ICS Instrumental at Grey Shark Fire

On March 14, 2015, the Master of Vessel, Captain Victor Tarasov, reported that the Grey Shark had developed engine trouble and was directed by its owners to return to New York City for repairs. The next night, the Grey Shark lost its second engine, putting it […]
September 30, 2015

Wild-Impacted Fires…Without the Wind: How the Stack Effect Can Impact a Fire

On a cold winter night in January 2015, Firefighters in the Bronx battled a fierce, wind-impacted fire on the fourth floor of a 16-story, project-type, high-rise multiple dwelling. As with most wind-impacted fires, the fire apartment door had been left open. As Ladder 19’s inside team […]
September 30, 2015

The General Slocum Fire

The morning of June 15, 1904, was, by most accounts, the perfect day for a steamship excursion up the East River of New York City. After months of meticulous planning, the members of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church were ready to embark on their seventh annual boat […]
September 30, 2015

The Dangers of Belt Man Lifts

On a building inspection of a four-story, below-grade parking garage at 1735 York Avenue in Upper Manhattan, the members of Ladder 43 found an unusual type of elevator designed to transport parking attendants to upper floors. Information suggests that this is a belt man lift. According […]
September 30, 2015

Shoring Operations at 261 Madison Avenue (Sidebar)

Rescue Operations units engage in the shoring and stabilization of compromised structures on a fairly regular basis. Most often, this activity occurs on the ground floor or a below-grade story. Occasionally, units will operate on an upper floor of a “low-rise” structure. In support of operations […]
September 30, 2015

Crane Calamity in Midtown Manhattan

On Sunday, May 31, 2015, beginning at 1043 hours, 9-1-1 calls began notifying UCT communications dispatchers of a catastrophic event (big bang) on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan, between East 38th and 39th Streets. The calls ranged from a building collapse, to a crane collapse, to […]