For over 135 years, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and its quietly held Marine Unit have kept New York City residents safe. The FDNY has always been well known for its firefighting abilities, skills and bravery.
On September 11, 2001, when 343 members of the FDNY died as a result of a terrorist attack while attempting to rescue people trapped in the World Trade Center, the FDNY’s mission changed. Terrorism plots involving chemical and biological attacks, crippling infrastructure and attacking “soft targets” had to be countered, and for their part, the FDNY responded. The fire department developed an asymmetrical approach to combat a variety of threats, making it a force multiplier for New York City and the region. One of the assets the FDNY brought to the forefront was its Marine Unit.
FDNY Marine Unit
The Marine Unit was formed to fight the large pier fires that occurred during the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Prior to fireboats, the FDNY Marine Unit would move a horse-drawn fire cart onto a barge or other boat and float to the fire.
Now spread out over the five boroughs, the FDNY Marine Unit had gone from one firefighting unit to a high-tech force capable of responding to any incident that didn’t necessitate the use of ammunition. With an over $54 million grant from the DHS, the FDNY developed a state-of-the-art Marine Unit that is arguably the most capable and diverse resource in today’s public-safety arena. The FDNY thought through and incorporated a myriad of contingencies to ensure that its new fleet could handle whatever it may need to face today and 20 years down the road.