On September 11, 2001 I responded to Ground Zero as part of a Urban Search and Rescue Team. During the events of the day we were exposed to what was some of the most extreme hazards EMS has ever been faced with. When I speak at EMS conferences around the country providers ask me, “How did you survive in good health when so many providers where killed and continue to die from exposure at Ground Zero?” There are several reasons I survived and am still healthy. I owe my survival to my training and equipment I was provided.
Being part of NYTF-1 FEMA USAR Team I was afforded the best training and the proper equipment for the response to Ground Zero. we were trained how to operate at the scene of a building collapse and how to work with Haz Mat environment. we were also provided with filtration masks on the afternoon of September 11, 2001.
During the course of my EMS career we have been trained in the importance of scene safety and body substance isolation (BSI). This training, equipment and habit of hand washing and protecting ourselves from disease helped preserve our health.
My Three Best Friends
I teach students and EMS providers that my three best friends are time distance and shielding. We learned these principles of safety at the Terrorism Awareness Course that was given at the EMS academy. By Minimizing your Time exposed to a hazard, maximizing your Distance and using the best Shielding available you can stay safe at Terrorist incidents and Mass Casualty responses.