This is absurd:
But nearly two years after the World Trade Center was destroyed, the department actually has fewer firefighters in the unit, which deals with biological, chemical or radiological attacks, than it did before Sept. 11. Some 14 of the 35 positions in the city’s one formal hazardous materials unit are vacant, according to a current member, and the notion of adding a fully trained second unit appears remote.
Fire Department officials, while saying they still desire to expand the ranks of the specialized unit, said they had decided to try to improve the basic hazardous materials training of all members of the department so they could assist in handling another terrorist attack. They said a lack of money was one reason they had failed to expand the number of fully trained hazardous materials specialists.
Some experts inside and outside the department have criticized its overall response as inadequate. They say the idea of providing fewer hours of training to a greater number of firefighters is a dangerous mistake, and they say the department’s top officials have simply failed to create a real plan for recruiting men and women to the specialized unit.
This is not a money issue- every department in every aspect of government wants more money. This is an example of BAD judgement and BAD prioritizing. I wonder how long before Bush is blamed.