Manhattan Scaffolding Rescue Highlights Agency Rivalry and Risk Management Decisions

Scaffold rescue highlights problems in unified command system.

In Manhattan yesterday, a scaffold came partially undone outside the 17th floor of a 21-story building on East 66th Street. The FDNY and NYPD ESU response revealed a dispute between the two agencies and differing views, as well as reports, of the immediate actions that need to be taken.

According to both the New York Post and New York Times, the ESU team lowered a member from the roof down to the three trapped workers. The FDNY simply opened an adjacent window, secured the workers and led them inside. They also did the same with the ESU member who had rappelled down. While the incident ended safely, it left many grumbling about problems within the city's unified command system and agency rivalry.

"But in a public display of inter-agency anger, FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Massucci argued that Coll took an unnecessary risk. “I didn’t see the need for him to put himself in harm’s way,” Massucci grumbled. He said the Fire Department should have been in charge. “The city protocol is that FDNY has all life, safety and rescue operations,” Massucci fumed. “Well, we’re trained to do this,” retorted Coll. “We have some of the best training and the best equipment to do this.”"

and…

"Chief Massucci, 48, a 22-year veteran, said firefighters wound up aiding the officer, too. They pulled him in through the same 17th-floor window because he could not climb back up the building’s facade and most likely did not have enough rope to reach the ground, the chief said."

 

 

Bill Carey is the daily news and blog manager for Elsevier Public Safety (FireRescue Magazine/Firefighter Nation, JEMS and LawOfficer sites.) Bill also manages the FireEMSBlogs.com network and is a former volunteer lieutenant with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County, Maryland.

We encourage and support constructive dialogue and debate. View our comment policy.



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Comments
Dave LeBlanc
Who Looks After The Victims?
Dave - I think the reason there is a debate is because the message is so contorted. From those that have chosen to manipulate the information to suit their position, the the ISFSI own website saying different things about what the tactics truly are. I agree 100% with giving everyone the information and letting them…
2014-11-20 22:06:56
Dave Skidmore
Who Looks After The Victims?
I'm glad you identified the "one issue no one is discussing, the lack of manpower on scene". My department runs a single apparatus, staffed with a minimum of 4 guys sometimes 5, with our second due being either our paid call or mutual aid - either option realistically being 10 plus minutes behind the first…
2014-11-19 22:01:40
Heath Smith
Who Looks After The Victims?
Great article Dave. I agree with your comment that "they became traditions because they work." And yes if you change the focus from life safety to your own safety how about holding a town meeting and letting those you swore to protect know whats going on, I am sure they will see your point!
2014-11-19 19:28:21
Ron Ayotte
Who Looks After The Victims?
Excellence as usual, Dave.
2014-11-19 03:39:35
Ron Ayotte
Your Eyes Are Useless When the Mind is Blind, Part III
David... excellent series.
2014-11-15 02:37:13
AFTDIMage
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