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Press Releases / 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2003


The following statement from the FDNY is in response to today’s article in the New York Post. The statement addresses two issues raised in the article: mandatory counseling and the duties and responsibilities of family "liaisons."


Following 9/11, the Department’s Counseling Services Unit (CSU) increased from about a dozen to more than 300 full and part-time counselors and psychologists. (This was possible largely through private grants and Project Liberty funds.)

We have offered counseling to every member of the Department—we did not mandate it. "Mandatory education" about counseling services was given to everyone and, to date, some 6,600 members of the FDNY have availed themselves of individual counseling.

Special counseling groups were set up to help the many different persons who lost loved ones (specific groups focused on children, spouses, parents, siblings, etc.). Two different programs were specifically set up for surviving spouses ("Couples Connection" and "The Other Side of the Firehouse"). Hundreds of firefighters and their spouses took advantage of these programs.

Firehouses that lost members were permitted to have one member taken off the work chart for the purpose of assisting families of those killed on 9/11. In some cases this involved one person, but in most instances a number of firefighters from each company “rotated” in this assignment. Ultimately, about 150 performed this function at some point.

Recognizing the particularly difficult and emotionally sensitive work done by "Liaisons" (i.e., persons who worked closely with the families who lost a loved one), the Department provided special counseling programs for them and their families. This included support group meetings, workshops and weekend "getaways". A timeline for these efforts and a brief description of scheduled events follows:

  • 2 Family Liaison group meetings (90 minute sessions) (1/7/2002 and 1/10/2002)
  • Family Liaison Questionnaire was issued (to elicit questions, concerns, requests for additional support)
  • Family Liaison Workshops (5 hour sessions) (2/28/2002 and 3/1/2002)
  • Follow-up Letter encouraging Family Liaisons to attend workshops (3/11/2002)
  • 4 Educational/Informational Meetings for Family Liaisons and family members (3 hour sessions) (3/18, 3/20, 3/25, 3/27/2002)
  • Workshop Weekend for Family Liaisons and their families in upstate New York (3 days) (May 2002)
  • UFA (Uniformed Firefighters Assn.) Posting for Family Liaisons to seek support (5/6/2002)
  • Information Sharing Meeting for Family Liaisons (6/25/2002)
  • Workshop Weekend for Family Liaisons and their families in upstate New York (3 days) (July 2002)
  • Follow-up Letter to Family Liaisons after Ground Zero closing (September 2002)
  • Information Sharing Meeting for Family Liaisons (1/24/2003)
  • Follow-up Letter to Family Liaisons encouraging participation in CSU (3/11/2003)
  • Follow-up Letter to Family Liaisons reminding them of available services (11/20/2003)

2 three-day family weekend getaway trips
6 education/information sharing meetings
2 Family Liaison group meetings
2 Family Liaison group workshops
5 follow-up letters/communications to Family Liaisons
1 Family Liaison questionnaire to gauge effect on Family Liaisons


Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / Michael Loughran (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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