- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 15, 2001

D.C. officials, adamant the city is prepared to deal with any additional terrorist attacks, yesterday asked Congress to give them $250 million to help with the cost of such emergency services.
The funding the city and Mayor Anthony A. Williams have requested would go toward various programs dealing with domestic preparedness. Included in this figure would be $14.5 million for fire/emergency medical services, $12.4 million for the Metropolitan Police Department and $78 million for the citywide secure data center facility.
"This is not your usual wish list," Mr. Williams said.
New York Mayor "Rudy Giuliani is doing a great job with 40,000 officers, and our officers are great [too], but there is no way we can meet the next challenge with 4,000," Mr. Williams told members of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the District.
Likewise, Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey insisted his officers were prepared to handle emergency situations, but they just don't have the materials necessary to follow through on the job.
"The need for equipment is first and foremost," Chief Ramsey said. "Our first responders do not have the equipment they need."
After the hearing, Chief Ramsey said the department just received 75 new suits of protective gear officers could use in the event of an attack, but that the department still needs materials to coordinate all levels of response.
"The problem is not getting [officers] in, it's that we can't get them out safely," he said.
What the police department is looking for, he said, is basic equipment such as boots, gloves and breathing devices to ensure officers' safety throughout the duration of an attack.
Others reported the city is actively practicing updated emergency-response plans as a result of the September 11 attacks. While some senators expressed concern these dry runs have been done only in the confines of an office and not out in the open, officials said they have been useful and that they hope to do real drills soon.
"You'd be surprised how much of a good idea you can get from a paper version of a test," Margaret Kellums, deputy mayor for public safety, told the committee.
The senators expressed interest in making sure there was a coordinated effort among the District and local jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia when dealing with emergency response.
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat and subcommittee chairman, cautioned officials against using their past experiences with emergency responses to natural disasters as a model for man-made disasters.
"We are all going to have to take this to a higher step," Mrs. Landrieu said. "There is a different mentality when attacked, instead of a natural disaster."
Sen. Mike DeWine, Ohio Republican, asked the panel to also address the need for emergency-response materials and actions to be made child-friendly, especially since gases are heavy and sink to the ground, where children are more likely to breathe them.
The committee will meet again to discuss the request after the Thanksgiving recess.


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