Description Recovered Motorola brand Saber model handheld radio or walkie-talkie used on 9/11 by FDNY Chief Peter James Ganci, Jr. The radio is covered in a fine dust with its damaged leather strap still attached.
Historical Notes Queens native Peter Ganci lived in North Massapequa, Long Island, with his wife, Kathleen. They had raised three children. In 33 years with the FDNY, Peter rose to be department chief, the highest rank for a uniformed officer. On September 11, Chief Ganci directed the FDNY response. He was last seen near the North Tower after ordering others to evacuate the area. He was 54 years old.
Curator's Comment Soon after hijacked Flight 11 hit the North Tower, FDNY Chief of Department Peter Ganci arrived at the World Trade Center. He relocated the incident command post from the North Tower to West Street, where he assumed responsibility for the post. Ganci used his radio to communicate with FDNY dispatch, requesting the assignment of more firefighters and equipment. After surviving the collapse of the South Tower, Ganci used his radio to order the evacuation of all firefighters inside the North Tower and remained in command at the scene.
In 2001, the FDNY used analog, point-to-point radios with low signal strength. The radios functioned satisfactorily under most circumstances but historically performed poorly inside steel and concrete high-rise buildings, such as the Twin Towers. A repeater system had been installed to bolster the signal, with controls in the lobby of each tower. On 9/11, radio communications between the lobby command and firefighters on floors above them were sporadic and ineffective.
Communications were also complicated because the FDNY and NYPD did not use compatible radios or regularly coordinate command and control functions as part of their standard response procedures. As a result, certain critical information did not reach responders in the towers. Some firefighters and police officers were in face-to-face communication, however, and gained information transmitted over one another’s radios.