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Lack of preparedness

 

Despite the heroic images in he media, a deeper look reveals that New York City was largely unprepared in basic ways even though the World Trade Center had long been a target for terrorism.  Much of the lack of preparation is understandable—the failure of communications, the loss of key emergency coordination functions.

 

“We’re prepared now, but we really weren’t then,” says Revella.

 

Among some of the major criticisms: The city should have been prepared with respirators and safety equipment at the time. Of course, some of that problem was due to the tragic loss of firefighters with hazardous materials expertise. Many remember the mad scramble to get respirators on the first day. But critics also blame fundamental lack of coordination among agencies and little regard to environmental health and safety.


Photo: Paul Olivier

As a result there were many, many casualties on that first day. Vincent Forras is one.

 

Forras answered the call for help as a volunteer firefighter on the morning of September 11, driving down from upper Westchester country north of the city. 

 

“My first sight upon arrival on the scene was seeing Ladder 3 totally crushed by a large block of the building and twisted into pieces.”

 

 

Inspecting the side compartment where the crew’s names were listed, he and his fellow volunteers determined that their buddies had to have been in the building.

 

“We spent the better part of the next 48 hours trying to find Jeff [Giordano] and three others and anyone else that might still be alive.”

 

However, because Forras and thousands of others were largely unprotected in those first hours and days, they are still suffering from a long list of ailments.

 

“It took at least two weeks to get properly equipped. By then we were pretty well cooked.”

 

Forras continues to be severely ill from a host of respiratory ailments, some stemming from sinus surgery, as well as severe headaches.

 

“All we had was paper masks, and there weren’t enough respirators,” he recalls. “It took at least two weeks to get properly equipped. By then we were pretty well cooked.”

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes:

 

(1) http://216.239.57.100/search?q=cache:Aif6iJnSCkkJ:www.msnj.org/pdfs/NJMJulAugust02/ForumZiskin.pdf+%22world+trade+Center%22+%2B+preparedness+plans&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

 

http://www.boma.org/pubs/property_gep_INTRO.htm

 

(2) http://www.ssrc.org/sept11/essays/tierney_text_only.htm

 

(3) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed its mission assignment to provide debris estimates and reports that 1.2 million tons of steel, concrete and glass were left on the ground following the World Trade Center attacks.

 

http://www.nrdc.org/cities/wtc/wtcinx.asp

 

http://www.fema.gov/nwz01/nwz01_139.shtm

 

(4) The Environmental Impacts of the World Trade Center Attacks
A Preliminary Assessment

 http://www.nrdc.org/cities/wtc/wtcinx.asp

 

(5) http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/magazine/stories/mag2.htm

 

(6) Earthquake/ richter scale

http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/12/seismic.impact/

 

(7)http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/pdf/mck_report/executive_summary.pdf

 

 

(8) http://www.ourpublicservice.org/staff_name3761/staff_name_show.htm?doc_id=139998

 

(9) http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/BCSIA_content/documents/Homeland_Security_Domestic_Preparedness_after_September_11,_2001.pdf

 

(10)

 

http://www.justiceworks.unh.edu/Research/B_B_Vol_5/justiceworkspub.pdf

 

(11) OSHA

(OSHA's Manhattan Area Office was based in the top floor of the World Trade Center's Building 6. Tower 1's collapse completely destroyed OSHA's Area Office)

 

http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/911/)

 

(12)

http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ndr/1Harrald_Presentation.pdf

 

(13)

 

http://www.pswn.gov/admin/librarydocs8/pentagon_release_2_1.htm

 

(14)

http://www.justiceworks.unh.edu/Research/B_B_Vol_5/justiceworkspub.pdf

 

(15)

http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ndr/1Harrald_Presentation.pdf

 

(16)

http://www.fema.gov/hazards/terrorism/terror.shtm

 

(17) Michael Benedict

http://www.ourpublicservice.org/staff_name3761/staff_name_show.htm?doc_id=139998

 

(18)

http://www.geocities.com/cureworks2/lisa.htm

 

(19)

http://www.co.arlington.va.us/fire/edu/about/docs/aar.htm

 

(20)

http://www.geocities.com/cureworks2/lisa.htm

 

(21)

http://www.dodgeconstructionpublications.com/Group/Features/feature02nov01.htm

 

(22)

http://everest.hunter.cuny.edu/~mclarke/Problems%20with%20EPA%20scopes%20Oct%202002.htm

 

(23)

http://www.fema.gov/about/mediausr.shtm

 

(24)

http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/year01/sept11_5_01.htm

 

(25)

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/magazine/stories/mag2.htm

 

(26) U.S. Army Medical Department

http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/opnoblegle/nurse911.htm

 

(27) “Only recently have U.S. military leaders begun to regard a clean, healthy   environment as a critical national interest worth fighting to protect,” noted Peter Lee Miller of Vermont Law School discussing the school’s symposium on the environmental impacts of war. “A Pentagon office is now tasked exclusively to protect the environment from military activities that would unnecessarily degrade it.”