US firefighters being trained to spot terrorists

US firefighters being trained to spot terrorists

This is a discussion on US firefighters being trained to spot terrorists within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; As reported by Telegraph.co.uk: US firefighters being trained to spot terrorists By Tom Leonard in New York Last Updated: 2:54am GMT 27/11/2007 A scheme to ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    US firefighters being trained to spot terrorists

    As reported by Telegraph.co.uk:

    US firefighters being trained to spot terrorists

    By Tom Leonard in New York
    Last Updated: 2:54am GMT 27/11/2007

    A scheme to train firefighters in major cities to look out for terrorists has raised fears that their iconic standing in American society could be damaged.


    New York firefighters are being trained to identify suspicious material or behaviour

    Unlike police, firemen and paramedics do not need warrants to get into homes and other buildings during technical inspections of emergency facilities, making them particularly useful for spotting signs of terrorist planning.

    The Homeland Security Department has been secretly testing a pilot scheme in New York in which firefighters are trained to identify suspicious material or behaviour. If successful, the programme will be extended to other large cities.

    However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says that using firemen to gather intelligence is a step toward limiting people's privacy.

    Since the September 11 attacks, Americans have given up some of their privacy rights in an effort to prevent future strikes.

    The government monitors telephone calls and emails, and there is much more thorough searching of belongings at airports.

    Mike German, a former FBI agent who is now the ACLU's national security policy adviser, said the latest measure was dangerously close to President George W Bush's proposal in 2002 to have workers with access to private homes - such as postal carriers and telephone repairmen - report suspicious behaviour to the FBI.

    He said that Americans "universally abhorred that idea", adding: "If in the conduct of doing their jobs they come across evidence of a crime, of course they should report that to the police. But you don't want them being intelligence agents." The plan would be particularly hazardous in communities already under police scrutiny, he said. "Do we want them to fear the fire department as well as the police?"

    The story can be found at; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...wterror127.xml
    Video story of as much via MSNBC; http://www.crooksandliars.com/Media/..._us_112807.wmv

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array cwblanco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    US firefighters being trained to spot terrorists

    By Tom Leonard in New York
    Last Updated: 2:54am GMT 27/11/2007

    A scheme to train firefighters in major cities to look out for terrorists has raised fears that their iconic standing in American society could be damaged.
    I live in a rural area where we have volunteer firefighters. Even though rural we have to go through a lot of training which is many many hours over a lifetime. This topic was covered in an arson investigation course that I took this year. A lot of emphasis was made on making a thorough inspection while still at the scene of the fire. The main emphasis was once we left the scene a search warrent would be required. Many of our fires are meth labs which seem to constitute a major fire hazard. I recall one incident where a deputy sheriff was standing next to a chemical trailer and announced that he had been instructed to stand guard over the locked trailer until he could get a warrant. That was when one of the firemen walked over with his axe and said "Warrant? Hell this is a fire hazard." As it turned out it was indeed a fire hazard sitting next to a blazing building and vehicles.

    Sorry if anyone feels that some of your freedoms are being infringed upon by firemen. However, New York's actions are no different from what it has been for over a century. The only difference that I see is that perhaps a more "politically correct" label could have been put on the course. If it comes to confiscating dope or or terrorist equipment, my personal priority will be the terrorist equipment. Perhaps a fire fighter form New York or other major city may be on this site, and can give some input.

    The moral to the story -- if one is storing illegal materials, he needs to be careful that his building does not catch on fire from drug manufacturing material or terrorist's explosives.

    All that being said, I think that you will find most firemen may appear to be "kinder, gentler, and more caring" to the general public than a lot of LEO's. Perhaps it is because their general roles and duties are quite different.

    P.S. My day job is a lawyer. Today I learned that will be representing in U.S. District Court a man who is charged with terrorism which includes burning a building resulted in serious burns to an elderly person. Oh well, it should be a lot more interesting than the usual dope cases and cases involving wet backing and coyote activities.

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    Senior Member Array gddyup's Avatar
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    I don't need a warrant, I have a haligan and an axe.
    Firefighter/EMT
    "You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know" - T.R.

    <----My LT was unhappy that I did not have my PASS-Tag at that fire. But I found the body so he said he would overlook it. :)

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    Senior Member Array cwblanco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gddyup View Post
    I don't need a warrant, I have a haligan and an axe.
    +1

    I think your comment sums it up best of all. In my opinion the original article which is the subject of this thread was written by someone who does not understand that when your house/building is going up in flames, the traditional notions about warrants is also embodied in the flames, and is replaced by Common Sense 101.

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    Senior Member Array gddyup's Avatar
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    I think the most laughable part of the original thinking behind this whole idea is that from day one, from day one of your FF1 course you are being trained to "look" for things when you go inside ANY building. You're trained to look a building construction, how floors are laid out, where stairways are laid out, any hazardous materials, hazardous situations, means of ingress/egress, domestic violence, etc, etc, etc. Anytime a firefighter goes inside a building, regardless of where it is, who's it is, or what it may or may not contain, we are ALWAYS looking around.

    Not neccesarily to turn people in for wrongdoing, that's not our job. But to keep building a personal map of structures and layouts that may come in handy some time down the road where we get called to put out a fire, make a rescue, or any other type of life threat scenario you can imagine. When it's 3:00 in the morning and your house is on fire, your kids are trapped on the second floor, and the cavalry shows up to get things done, we have a DAMN good idea how your house is laid out due to the fact that we've been inside and seen so many that look just like it.

    We're always looking. If we see something that doesnt look right, we may just put a bug in the local PDs ear. Not because we have to, but because we should. You have a bunch of plastique with wires hanging out of it covered up clumsily by a sheet, your getting visitors. We see a bunch of "plants" growing in your basement after getting called for an odor investigation.. you're getting visitors. We show up for an "Unknown Medical" and you're grandma has bruises all over her and refuses to go to the hospital because you tell us she only "fell down the stairs"... you're probably getting visitors.

    This stuff isn't new. I find it hilarious how all of a sudden when it's announced that FDNY may get some "additional" training to spot "possible suspicious materials or behaviour", that some groups are all up in arms over it. We've been doing it since the dawn of fire service as it's known. There's nothing new here.
    Firefighter/EMT
    "You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know" - T.R.

    <----My LT was unhappy that I did not have my PASS-Tag at that fire. But I found the body so he said he would overlook it. :)

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