This is verbatim from Huffington Post, to preserve consistency and accuracy.
(Sorry for the cop-out copypasta, but it's relevant.)
My only thoughts: I would feel more comfortable if the Mayor replied with a strong "yes, we are prepared," instead of his disconcerting use of a litote.
Also, with an increasing call volume, continued difficulties with both personnel staffing and apparatus maintenance, and the ever-dwindling numbers of ALS providers, I do not think it bodes well for the efficacy of the Department in the event of a large-scale or mass-casualty incident—and certainly not during the summer months, when everything tends to break down (both literally and figuratively).
I'm no Subject Matter Expert over here, but to quote Sgt. Joe Friday—"all we know are the facts, ma'am."
Can D.C. Handle A Boston-Like Attack? D.C. Mayor Says Yes, After Letter Suggesting Otherwise
WASHINGTON — Can D.C. handle a Boston-like attack?
The Washington Examiner reports that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray suggests not in a recent letter:
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has warned key lawmakers that the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department's staffing protocols are leaving the District at risk in the event of a Boston-style attack against the city.
Gray spokesperson Pedro Ribeiro told The Huffington Post that the letter — you can read a PDF of it here — was intended only to recommend a more flexible FEMS staffing protocol, but that Gray did not mean to say D.C. is currently unprepared.
"What we're saying is it would be easier if those folks were closer. However it doesn't mean we're not prepared. We are," said Ribeiro. "We respond to hundreds of incidents a day…To say that the District is unprepared is absurd."
The president of the D.C. firefighters' union told the Examiner that he disagrees both with Gray's proposed changes, which come as the city and the firefighters will be going into binding arbitration, and with the suggestion that D.C. is unprepared to respond to an attack:
Edward Smith, the union's president, said firefighters are sufficiently close to the District, and he dismissed Gray's contention that the current shift structure poses a public safety threat.
For more on the historical context of the administration's dispute with firefighters, see this recent Washingtonian article.
And more: Gray and Washington Post reporter Tim Craig exchanged tweets over the Examiner story today: