Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, NFPA launched a widespread effort to strengthen codes and standards for first responder safety, the built environment, emergency preparedness, and more. Ten years later, those efforts continue — and they’re making America safer.
It is a hot July day in downtown Brooklyn, located across the East River from Lower Manhattan, and Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano is giving a tour to a reporter inside the headquarters of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). He opens a door to a small room, no larger than a couple of standard-sized offices, filled with racks of humming computer servers. Ten years ago, on September 11, this was the room that housed FDNY’s operations center. Cassano was the assistant chief back then, and this was where he tried to monitor what was happening across the river at the World Trade Center after one hijacked airplane, then another, struck the towers. "We had a few phones, a couple of TVs, and that was it," he says. "I was trying to get a handle on what was going on at a 16-acre [6.5-hectare] site, trying to round up where our people were, which hospitals they were in. None of that was available to us at our fingertips."