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NY B5 Fire Command Station- WTC Systems Fdr- Entire Contents- MFRs 748

NY B5 Fire Command Station- WTC Systems Fdr- Entire Contents- MFRs 748

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01/12/2012

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COMMISSION SENSITIVE
UNCLASSIFIED
MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD
Re:Fire Command Station
(PCS)
Systems & Protocol
Type
of event: Memo; based on interviews with Alan
Reiss
(former Director of the Port
Authority
World Trade Department)
and
Michael Hurley (former
WTD
Life SafetyDirector)
Date:
July1,
2004
Special
Access: NonePrepared by: Madeleine Blot
Team: 8b
Location:
N/A
Participants
-
Non
Commission:
N/A
Participants
-
Commission staff:
N/A
The following systems / methods existed for transfer of information to and
form
the
fire command stations
("PCS")
in the lobbies of WTC 1 and WTC 2, which were
managed
by the buildings' deputy fire safety directors
("DFSD's").
1)
The
public address
system*:The
p.a.
system
was
used
to
make
voice
announcements
to
tenants
in the
buildings.
The
DFSD could select
to
make
an
announcement
to
specified
floors, to the
entire tower,
or to one or
more
of the
stairwells(selected
by
pushing appropriate buttons; separate buttons existed
to
transmit
toeachof the 3
stairwells). Announcements
were generally
made
to
"affected"
areas, as indicated by automatically-generated computerized alarms
(see
below)
or byactual reportsfromtenants. Public address announcementswere regularly preceded by a tone;
'advisory'
announcements were preceded by
"chimes"
and
"emergency" announcements were preceded
by the
warbleevacuation alarm signal; the tone would be overridden (unless sounding
automatically
in default mode) when the DFSD pressed the push-to-talk button.
Protocol regarding instructions
to
building tenants:
Each PCS
contained manuals with pre-scripted announcements pertaining to a number of
specified
emergencies. Instructions existedforstandardfireemergencies,aswellas for
bomb
threats and other non-fire events. If an incident arose for which no script was
provided,
it was standard procedures for the DFSD to consult with the FSD before
making
an
announcement,
to
determine instructions
and
wording.
If the
DFSD
could
not
 
COMMISSION SENSITIVE
UNCLASSIFIED
contact
the
FSD,
it was
acceptable
for him to act on his
own.
DFSD's,
though called"deputies," were
all
NYC-certified
fire
safety
directors
and
many
were
retired members
of
the FDNY. In all
cases, once
the
FDNY
arrived
on the
scene,
it had
jurisdiction over
any
decisions concerning evacuation and/or
other emergency
procedures.
FSD's
could
make
recommendations and/or object
but the
decision
was
ultimately
the
FDNY's.
There
was
no pre-written
script
specifying
how to
advise tenants
in one
tower
if
there
was a
major
event
or
explosion
in the
other. (See
WTC
Protocols
& the
South Tower, dated
Jul.
24, 2004). In
general,
announcements
were either "advisory"
or
"emergency."
Advisory
announcements generally
informed
tenants
of an
event which either
did not
affect
them
or did not
require immediate action (e.g.,
an
incident which
was
occurring
inanother
location
but
perceptible
to
tenants,
or a
non-emergency situation such
a
power
dip).
The
purpose
was
reduce anxiety. Emergency announcements advised tenants
how
to
proceed
in
situations which
did
require immediate attention (e.g., evacuation). (See
also
Michael Hurley interviews, dated
July
8,
July
22, &
July
23,
2004)
&
Memo
re WTC
Protocols
&
South
Tower,
dated
July
24,
2004)
2)
Emergency intercom "floor
warden"
phones:
Floor
warden
intercom
phones
were
located
on
each
floor
of the
towers
to
enable
the
designated floor "fire warden"
(a
civilian
tenant)
to
communicate with
the FCS
when
an
emergency event occurred
(as fire
drill training instructed).
Lifting
the
handset
at the floor
location would
automatically
connect
the fire
warden
(or
anyone using
the
phone)
to the
FCS.
The
FCS was
alerted
by a
sound alarm
and a red LED
alert.
3)
Computerized
alarms*:
The FCS was
equipped with
a
computer monitor
by
means
of
which
the
DFSD could monitor conditions throughout
the
building.
When
an
alarm condition occurred (i.e., smoke, heat)
it
would automaticallytrigger
a
coded message
to
appear
on the
screen
at the fire
command desk,
indicating
the
type
and
location
of the
alarm.
4)
Hardlines:
The FCS
contained regular landline phones which
tenants could reach
by
dialing standard 7-digit numbers. Phone numbers were provided liberally;
they
were given
to all fire
safety
team members
and
many others
who
might need
to the
contact
the
FCS.
5)
Evacuation
Tone*:
Under normal circumstances,
the
evacuation tone could
be
activated
1)
manually;
2) by the
water
flow
detection alarm,
or 3) by the
smokedetector alarm.
The
tone would also sound automatically
in
default mode
if the
transponder received
an
alarm input triggered
by an
actual alarm condition
but
was
unable
to
"communicate" with
the
FCS. Transponders generally covered
3-
floor
areas
and
would receive input
from
and
generate tones
to
those
areas
in the
manners indicated.
The
tone would
be
broadcast through
the
public addressspeakers.
*
Indicated items were components
and/or
features
of the
class
"E"
fire
alarm system,
installed
by the
Port Authority
in
response
to the
1993 bombing ($70 million); (See also
Alan
Reiss interview dated Jun.
16,
2004).
It was
comprised
of six
separate systems,
in
 
COMMISSION SENSITIVEUNCLASSIFIED
different
physical locations, and covered all areas owned and operated by the PA.
(WTC
1,2,4,
5,
sub
grade
areas,
concourse).
The
system contained redundant electronics
and
control panels in physically dispersed locations, in case pertinent areas (i.e., lobby
PCS)
had
to be evacuated.
Functionality
of
Systems on
Sept.
11
th
After
Impact
of
Planes:
This issue
of
which
and towhat
extent building systems
functioned
on September
11
after
the
towers
were hit by the
planes
is being thoroughly investigated by
NIST.
Because
we lack the
resources
andexpertise
to
conduct this type
of
investigation,
we
have refrained
from
attempting
to
draw
broad
conclusions.
However,
our research has yielded the following, non-technical,
information:
^
Public-Address System:
nV^
a
1)
From
911
tapes:
The
p.a. system
was
generally
not
heard
in the
background
of
X
^
f\/
M
any
911
tapes that
we
have listened
to.
Staff
recalls hearing
an
announcement
in
\)
^
V
the background
one
call that
did not
appear
to
correspond
to the
events taking
""~J
pj\
tf
place
at the
time.
In a
separate call, people
from the
97
th
floor of the
South Tower
,
0
I
flO^
make
repeated references
to
having heard
an
announcement
to "go
down
the rC
i
\^/
stairs."
0
^
2)
Interviews:
No
civilian evacuees whom
we
interviewed
from
either
tower
recalls
V>M
hearing p.a.
announcements
after
their respective buildings were struck. No
family
members/co-workers of victims, who spoke with victims on the phone
while
in the
towers,
recall hearing announcements in the background. The DFSDstationed in the North Tower recalls receiving confirmation from some tenants,whocalled downto the FCS fordirection
after
thebuildingwashit, that theyhad
heard
his
p.a.
announcements. He does not recall which floors theacknowledgments came from but does not remember receiving anycommunicationsfrom people at or above the impact. An employee of American
Building
Maintenance told us that he recalled hearing an automatic, pre-recordedmessage on some lower floors in the North Tower.
However,
as noted,
p.a.
announcementswere made
"live."
(See Michael Hurley interview June
21,
2004).A Port Authority employee, who was on the
35
th
floor of the South Tower when itwas hit, recalls hearing what sounded like a
p.a.
announcement emanating fromthe floors while he was evacuating down a stairwell, but he did not enter the floor
to
check.* Floor Warden Phones:
No
evacuees
we
spoke with attempted
to use the floor
warden
phones.
The DFSD in the North Tower has told us that he received calls via
those
phones
after
the NT washit;the
former
firesafety director
(PA),
whoreportedto the North
Tower
lobby that morning, recalls seeing that calls were coming through by that method
(the
former
FSD was not responsible for actually answering the calls). The NT DFSDdoesnot remember which floors he received these calls from, but
does
not recall being in
communication
with anyone at or above the impact by any method. An ABM employee,
who
remained in the stairwells and on floors in the 20's and 30's of the NT, recalls
observing
people attempting to use the floor warden phones, but does not believe that

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