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PR- 338-06
September 25, 2006


New Operations Center Will Give Senior Fire Commanders Ability to Manage Multiple, Large Scale Events from a Central Location, Increase Interoperability and Communication Among City Agencies and Leverage Future Benefits of NYC Public Safety Wireless Network

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today unveiled the newly rebuilt Fire Department Operations Center (FDOC). The $17 million, state-of-the-art center serves as the central command and information hub for the FDNY. Located at FDNY Headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn, the FDOC is staffed by uniformed personnel who monitor fire and EMS activity across the five boroughs, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Technology upgrades in the FDOC will allow the FDNY to increase its interoperability with other City agencies including the Police Department, Office of Emergency Management and Department of Transportation and allow senior fire commanders the ability to management multiple, large scale incidents across the City from a single, central remote location. The FDOC will also be able to leverage the future benefits of the Citywide Public Safety Wireless Network which will provide the real-time links to city, state and federal agencies and provide for greater “situational awareness” and resource coordination in case of a large scale manmade or natural disaster. The new FDOC was built as a result of recommendations made in the McKinsey Report, which provided a comprehensive review of Fire Department operations in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The Mayor and Fire Commissioner were joined by Chief of Department Salvatore Cassano, Chief of Operations Patrick McNally and other senior FDNY officials for today’s unveiling.

“Over the past five years, as threats to our city have become increasingly more complex, we’ve taken concrete steps to ensure the safety of our City and its residents,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The expansion and development of the new Fire Department Operations Center is a critical new management tool for fire commanders in the event of a large-scale disaster or simultaneous, multiple emergencies around the city. Through projects like this, we’re reaffirming our commitment to providing our first responders with the advanced resources they need to protect our City and keep all New Yorkers safe.”

“This new Operations Center is equipped with an unprecedented range of capabilities that will continue to grow,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “This is the nerve center and the future of the FDNY. Every day, our members risk their lives to help their fellow New Yorkers. This Center will ensure our firefighters and EMS workers get there faster and safer than ever before.”

Built with funding from both the City ($3 million) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ($14 million), the FDOC is equipped with the most advanced technology available to first responders, enabling Fire Department commanders to manage one or multiple emergencies from a single remote location and better communicate with other city, state and federal agencies. The FDOC, which was completed in early July after nearly a year of construction, is the result of recommendations made in the McKinsey Report following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks – when no such FDNY facility of its kind existed. The FDOC is divided into two sections, the Emergency Operations Center, which supervises the Department’s thousands of daily responses, and the Incident Support Center, which is designed to manage large-scale emergencies and/or special events. Nearly a dozen firefighters and EMS personnel are trained and assigned to staff the FDOC on a 24-hour basis.

Lined with more than 75 computers and 52,000 feet of network cable, the FDOC is the operational nucleus of the FDNY, facilitating communication among all of its responding members and specialized units. As events unfold at one crisis scene or at multiple locations, the FDOC shares updates with different commanders in the field and provides important data needed to fight fires, rescue civilians, properly deploy personnel and protect members from any potential harmful substances.

Through the Department’s new Automatic Vehicle Location system, the movement of every FDNY ambulance is also tracked in the FDOC on maps spread across large computer screens, and soon, fire apparatus will be monitored in the same way. In addition, FDOC is equipped to access live uninterrupted video feeds from NYPD helicopters giving fire commanders an aerial view to any major fire or large scale emergency. Fire officials also will be able to access 80 real-time traffic cameras installed throughout the city by the Department of Transportation.

Every radio transmission and telephone call that comes in to the FDOC is recorded and able to be played back immediately. This “scenario replay” helps officials recreate events and allow them to fill information gaps unclear to their counterparts in the field. Most importantly, aerial photographs, geographic dimensions and history of any building in the city and the surrounding areas are readily available. That could mean the difference between life and death when alerting firefighters to the dangers around them, such as gas tanks stored near a growing fire. The FDOC also has access to the Autodesk Crisis Command, which provides layers of maps that show the locations of nearby schools, hospitals, subway lines and other crucial data.

The FDOC monitors multiple radio frequencies. Newscasts from cable and satellite TV are projected onto two giant video walls to watch what is being publicly reported to residents in the city and around the world. In the event of a major fire and rescue operation, fire officials can scrawl on five computerized “smart boards” for strategizing and long-term planning, while others can set up instant video conference calls with borough commanders, Special Operations Command and the highly-trained rescue companies in each borough.


Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam   (212) 788-2958


Francis X. Gribbon   (Fire Department)
(718) 999-2056

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