First responders discuss lessons learned from past attacks at congressional hearing

The House Homeland Security Committee recently held a hearing to discuss the use of lessons learned from past terrorist attacks to better prepare first responders for future incidents.

The hearing was aimed at bolstering collaboration between local, state and federal agencies to prepare and response to future attacks, HSToday reports.

"These terrorists, and others around the world like al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, are intent on attacking the homeland," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the Committee, said, according to HSToday. "Just as we must continue to combat these threats overseas, we must also remain vigilant at home and be prepared to respond to attacks that reach our shores."

Representatives from local police and fire agencies testified at the hearing and discussed their efforts and recommendations toward improving first responder capability in the face of a terrorist attack.

New York City Police Department Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller detailed lessons learned in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as well as other efforts to protect major events in the city.

Miller stressed the need for additional counterterrorism grant funding, information sharing between agencies and cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security in research and development, HSToday reports.

"Whether it is the Israeli Day Parade, the Super Bowl Boulevard events in Times Square this past February or the New York City Marathon, each plan comes with a complex counterterrorism overlay that requires additional equipment, officers and investigators," Miller said, according to HSToday.