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Press Releases / 2004 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JUNE 8, 2004

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta Announces the Deployment of Three Haz Mat Technician Engine Companies

Existing units have been trained in order to enhance FDNY Haz Mat response capabilities

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today announced the deployment of three new Hazardous Material Technician (Haz-Tech) Engine Companies. More than 70 members from Engine 44 in Manhattan, Engine 165 in Staten Island, and Engine 274 in Queens have received 80 hours of specialized training and are now available as additional Haz Mat units citywide. Chief of Department Frank Cruthers and other top FDNY officials made the announcement at the quarters of Engine Company 44.

"The deployment of these three Haz Tech Engine Companies further demonstrates the commitment the Fire Department has to providing the people of New York with the best protection against the new threats we now face," said Chief Cruthers. "They will also enhance and decentralize the Department's response to multiple incidents involving hazardous materials and life safety operations."

As Haz Mat Technicians, the role of these first responders will be first and foremost to save lives at Haz Mat incidents. They will also work to stop the release of a hazardous material and are trained in a number of areas such as identification of hazards by using survey instruments and equipment, selection and use of chemical protective clothing, and implementation of decontamination. The companies will still assume primary fire duties in their respective response areas but will also be available to respond to Haz Mat incidents citywide, thus further increasing the capability of the Fire Department to respond to such incidents. They will respond as an additional unit on Haz Mat incidents in order to get field experience before being placed in service as a primary responder.

Since 9-11 the FDNY has trained more than 700 members in advanced Haz Mat operations, bringing the number of firefighters trained to handle such incidents from 430 to more than 1100.

The training of the three fire companies cost $350,000, and was paid for by funding provided from the Department of Homeland Security.

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

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