2003-01-18 / Community

Addabbo Addresses Airport Safety

Addabbo Addresses Airport Safety

How safe are Rockaway residents, what with aircraft from JFK Airport passing over various communities on the peninsula at all hours of the day and night?

That was the question being addressed at a forum hosted by Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. last week at the Port Authority Administration Building at JFK Airport.

The forum included a panel that existed of personnel from the New York Police Department Counter Terrorism Task Force, the Fire Department, Port Authority Police, Coast Guard, and Gateway National Recreation Area. The audience consisted of Council Member Leroy Comrie, the representatives for U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Congressman Gregory Meeks, State Senator Serphin Maltese, State Senator Malcom Smith, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Assemblywoman Michele Titus, Council Member James Sanders, community leaders, the local Police Precinct Captains, and various other uniformed personnel.

Addabbo stated that the main purpose of the meeting was to discuss how secure is the area in and around the airport and the related aircraft. He also called upon the federal government to supply additional assistance through Homeland Security to ensure the safety of the surrounding communities. The forum was based on prior statements made by Senator Clinton regarding the need for Homeland Security to become more involved with the two area airports.

The NYPD made a power point presentation on the current state of citywide terrorism preparedness and what can be done locally to aid in the battle against terrorism. The presenters stressed that residents should report any extraordinary or strange behavior and not to become directly involved with the situation. Anyone witnessing such behavior can call 1-888-NYC-SAFE to make a report. All presenters stated that residents should write their local elected officials to express their concern for the security around the airports and request that the federal government deliver additional resources to further safeguard the area.

The U.S. Coast Guard stated that it has made significant changes in improving the monitoring of any vessel in the waters surrounding the airport and the Fire Department informed the audience of the need to seek fresh air and remove all clothing in the case of a chemical attack in a closed area such as a train station.

Questions and concerns at the end of the meeting included the need to protect the airport’s fuel tanks and long term parking lots, the effects of chemical and biological attacks, local precinct staffing levels, and the monitoring of short wave citizens band radio frequencies.

After the meeting, the panel spoke individually to those in attendance and exchanged business cards with many community leaders.

"Given the international climate of the war on terrorism and the situation involving Iraq, now more than ever, we must consider the current state of security regarding JFK Airport and the related aircraft." Addabbo stated.

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