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STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING AN 800MHz RADIO SYSTEM IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ... - page 15 / 54

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professionals at John Jay College of Criminal Justice for a forum on urban hazards

(Lipton & Glanz, 2002, p.1).

Perhaps no fire department could prepare for an emergency on the scale of the

trade centers attack, Chief Blaich said. But the Fire Department must find way to increase

the amount of information at its disposal at the time of major disasters and, in particular,

to communicate better with other agencies that are responding, said the deputy chief, who

until recently was the logistics officer at the incident command center (Lipton & Glanz,

2002, p.1).

The inability to communicate with the police helicopter was particularly

unfortunate, he said. Firefighters were ordered to evacuate the twin towers shortly before

the collapse of the south tower, the first to fall. That order came only after a false rumor

that a third hijacked plane might be on the way, Chief Blaich said (Lipton & Glanz, 2002,

p.1).

Commanders directing the Fire Department response were initially inside the

north tower and could not easily enter and exit that building because of falling bodies and

debris. The evacuation might have come sooner if observations by police personnel in

the helicopter had been available, he said. “Here we have their airborne antenna flying

around without the capacity of transmitting to people on the upper floors to get out,” he

said. “The officers at the incident command center were unaware of the severity of the

condition of the buildings outside” (Lipton & Glanz, 2002, p.1).

Public Safety personnel must be able to coordinate over agency boundaries and

wireless limitations, even for day-to-day incidents like fire suppression and emergency

care. During five weeks in the summer of 1998, 6,500 firefighters from local, state and

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