Personality-Based Terror Response

By Billy Goldfeder

As we all watched again this past weekend as firefighters and emergency service personnel responded to the NYC explosion, we once again observed the new normal. We want to pass on to you-with a brief comment-the radio traffic from FDNY to Saturday evening’s terror event. 

It’s not sent as entertainment, but to ask the question to all of us…are we anywhere near as ready as FDNY, FDNY EMS and NYPD are to respond as they did? In most cases, the answer is no. And some would respond back and say that they aren’t as big as FDNY, don’t have the resources, etc.–and that would only be partially correct.

While NO fire department is as big and as resource-full as FDNY, we all do have access to the many resources they do–regionally–by planning…if we really want to.

Listen to the radio traffic and you’ll see how many resources were pulled together immediately–well staffed and probably the best-led and trained anywhere. Sure it’s a little easier when you are “one” fire department-but it can be done by any fire department–regionally–if we want to.

BUT doing that would also require dropping stuff such as personality-based mutual aid, territorialism, blindfolds, “we don’t need them here” along with the “they suck” attitudes, radios that STILL cannot talk to each other, the lack of standard policies, the lack of fire command standards. and the lack of fire service respect…things like that. It would require all leaders and members to actually focus on what’s best for the public, what’s best for the firefighters (leadership, training, and resources) and not what’s best for fire-based egos, personal interests, game playing, and attitudes.

I am generally very positive, but I’m also a realist and when I see (and you see) that some areas still can’t get coordinated, organized to plan for, train, and send what’s needed and do whats best for a standard dwelling fire, it is scary to think how the terror incident will go when it happens. 

I mean seriously… if we can’t manage command, control, accountability and discipline at that single-family dwelling fire, we don’t have a chance in hell in having any success when the terrorists do what they do. You know that. 

Take a listen to the below link and use two thought processes when listening:

1. Listen with pride at how prepared FDNY and NYPD are-and why they are.

2. Question could your, mine or our communities come even close in pulling this kind of response together as quickly and as organized as they did?



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BILLY GOLDFEDER, EFO, Billy Goldfederis deputy chief of the Loveland-Symmes (OH) Fire Department. He has been a firefighter since 1973, a company officer since 1979, and a chief officer since 1982. He serves on the International Association of Fire Chiefs board of directors, the September 11th Families Association, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. He has taught at FDIC for 30-plus years and is a member of the Fire Engineering editorial advisory board and the FDIC executive advisory board. He writes the “Nozzlehead” column for FireRescue magazine and is in charge of

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