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FDNY Helicopter Project FDNY Helicopter Project United States Military Academy Fire Department City of New York Combating Terrorism Leadership Program

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fdny helicopter project

FDNY Helicopter Project

FDNY Helicopter Project

United States Military Academy

Fire Department City of New York

Combating Terrorism Leadership Program


The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the need for the Fire Department of the City of New York to acquire a helicopter as a regional resource for homeland security


Project Staff:

  • Battalion Chief Thomas Danz
  • Battalion Chief Daniel Martinetion
  • Captain Jeffrey Race
  • Captain Scott Holliday
  • Captain Michael McLaughlin

Mentor: Chief Joseph W. Pfeifer

fire based aviation programs
Fire Based Aviation Programs
  • Los Angeles County FD, California
  • Los Angeles City FD, California
  • Chicago FD, Illinois
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Florida
historical examples for the use of fire service aviation
World Trade Center

Belle Harbor

Port Mobil

High Rise Operations

Brush Fires

Coastal Storms / Flooding

Ship Emergencies

Medical Evacuation

Historical Examples for the Use of Fire Service Aviation
9 11 commission
9/11 Commission

“If there is a fire on the 30th floor in a high-rise building that cannot be extinguished and exits are totally blocked, how do you rescue the people?”

Question from the 9/11 Commission to Nicholas Scoppetta, Fire Commissioner

fdny uses for a helicopter
FDNY Uses for a Helicopter
  • Fire Suppression
  • Search & Rescue
  • Resource Deployment
  • Command and Control
  • Reconnaissance
  • Medical Evacuation
fire suppression
Fire Suppression

Technology is available and is continuing to develop which will allow airborne master stream devices to be used in high-rise fire suppression

search rescue
Search & Rescue
  • Insertion of specialized search teams
  • Removal of victims and rescuers from hazardous environments
resource deployment
Resource Deployment
  • Personnel
  • Equipment
command control
Command & Control

The ability to gather and use information to make informed decisions effecting the outcome of the incident.

To effectively deploy and utilize resources to accomplish strategic goals and objectives.

command control13
Command & Control

“One of the most critical things in a major operation like this is to have information. We didn’t have a lot of information coming in. We didn’t receive any reports of what was seen from the [NYPD] helicopters.”

Pfeifer, Joseph, videotaped testimony, The 9/11 Commission Report, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, May 18, 2004

“People watching on TV certainly had more knowledge of what was happening a hundred floors above us than we did in the lobby….[W]ithout critical information coming in…it’s very difficult to make informed, critical decisions[.]”

Hayden, Peter, videotaped testimony, The 9/11 Commission Report, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, May 18, 2004

  • Overall scene picture
  • Access and egress routes
  • Exposure conditions
  • Real-time video links
  • Pre-plans

Belle Harbor Crash 2001From NYPD Aviation

medical evacuation
Medical Evacuation
  • Specialty Referral Transport
  • Mass Casualty Evacuation

Decision Criteria

  • Fire SuppressionThe ability to apply water both horizontally and vertically.
  • Search & RescueAllow removal of victims and personnel from inaccessible locations.
  • Resource DeploymentThe lifting capability of the aircraft and the amount of personnel it can move.
  • Command and ControlAbility to provide video feed to the IC and allow aerial surveillance by FDNY officers.
  • Medical EvacuationAbility to move victims from the scene to definitive care and specialty referral centers.

Criteria Analysis

TOTAL 6 9 15 22

Rate on a scale of 0 to 4 with 0 being the least useful and 4 being the most useful.

Highest Number is the preferred aircraft

Regional Resource

Sikorsky Firehawk – resource capable of large scale movement of manpower, equipment, and extinguishing agent.

  • Manpower – specialists, command, IMT, USAR
  • Equipment – 4.5 ton lift capacity of medical supplies, haz mat or USAR caches
  • ExtinguishingAgent – 1000 gallons of water and 30 gallons of foam concentrate for application in hazardous or remote locations (suspension bridges, tank farms, hi-rise)
regional resource
Regional Resource
  • An FDNY resource capable of implementing its core mission within the City as well as expanded capabilities in the entire Northeast region
Regional Resource
  • Homeland Security
  • Mutual Aid
Cost Recovery

Possible for the following operations:

Homeland Security


Mutual Aid Agreements



Port of NY/NJ – ships, barges

Gateway National Park (brush operations)

  • FD Budget
  • DHS Grant
  • Discretionary Grant – various sources
  • Private Funding – Corporate, non-profit, etc.
  • Investigate Potential Regional Partnerships.
  • Research Funding Sources Outside the FDNY Budget.
  • Prepare a Cost Analysis of Establishing a FDNY Aviation Unit.

Rent (+) limited up front expenditures

(- ) very restricted use, capabilities

Lease (+) moderate up front expenditures

(+) less risk exposure

(- ) inflexible (limited capabilities)

(- ) could prove more costly over long term

Purchase (- ) substantial initial investment

(- ) most risk exposure

(+) custom created to our menu of missions

(+) creates stability in program (procedures, training, R&D)


Direct Operating Cost (DOC) Indirect Operating Cost (IOC)

DOC – the cost incurred from being in the air (fuel, lubricants)

IOC – flexible cost options

Pay as you go – we assume all repair cost as necessary

TAP – Total Assurance Plan

Pay flat rate based on estimated annual hours. Transfers most risk to supplier

Can be more costly over life of helicopter

PAP - Partial Assurance Plan

Any variation on coverage