September 11, 2001 Podcast About The Downwind Walk At Ground Zero.

I would like to share a podcast with you about wat it was like to work at Ground Zero and deal with 9/11 as a first responder for the FDNY.

I will also be sending out information and videos in upcoming posts about visiting Ground Zero and some of the stories from 9/11.

Please Click Here if you would like this free podcast.

Have a great day and do something awesome in memory of someone we lost on 9/11.

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EMS Book: September 11, 2001, “The Downwind Walk.” Tells the story of 9/11 from the perspective of an FDNY Paramedic..

The Downwind walk is now available on-line at Authorhouse Publications.


Author ofThe Downwind Walk: A USAR Paramedics Experiences After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001

Lt. Kanarian’s book tells about the rescue efforts at Ground Zero during 9/11 from the perspective of a lieutenant who responded as an urban search and rescue medic. The book contains never before published photos and interviews with significant responders of 9/11.

This book is important in preserving the EMS role in September 11, 2001 as the year’s pass.  This book should be read  EMT and paramedic students who want to know how to survive a terrorist attack.  This book is also an essential first-hand account of 9/11 for use in and Homeland Security Degree Programs.  By reading this book you will gain a first-hand account of 9/11 from Ground Zero from eye level.

This book gives you a behind the scenes view of Ground Zero and the after effects from Lt. Kanarian’s view, in his dusty boots.–Downwind-Walk.aspx

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National September 11 Memorial & Museum: What to know when you go to visit.

About the author: Steven Kanarian is a retired Lieutenant from the New York City Fire Department and wrote the Book:  The Downwind Walk: A USAR Paramedic’s Experiences after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.   Available from:


The National 9/11 Museum is located at 180 Greenwich Street in New York City. The museum is easily reached by mass transit or car. You can take the west side trains A or C train from Times Square or any west side subway station and arrive at Fulton Street Station.  You can also take the Path train from New Jersey to the beautiful new path station at the World Trade Center. You can drive via the west side highway and park in several parking garages. Train access from the east side of Manhattan and Grand Central Station can be accomplished by taking the subway shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square.

When visiting the 9/11 museum you should allow a minimum of 4 hours to see the museum and the Memorial Gardens.  Tickets for the date and time you want to tour the museum can be obtained prior to arrival at .   I recommend bringing a light sweater and umbrella. The museum can be very cold inside and there is no protection outside from the rain.

If you are concerned about safety at the museum rest assured the grounds are patrolled by private security, New York City Police officers and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officers.  Security is often augmented with Homeland Security and military personnel on anniversary dates.

The space in the museum is very comforting and honors the loss on 9/11. I find the Museum to be a place of healing, learning about 9/11 and meeting people from around the world.  I find it interesting how al-Qaeda sought to divide the world and the exact opposite is true; you can see proof of the empathy from around the world for the loss at the 9/11 Memorial Museum and Memorial. I think 9/11 has brought the world closer together and intermingled people’s lives that otherwise would not have met.  The memorial park and museum are exceedingly well designed.  As a 9/11 responder,  I was very hesitant to return to the site and see the museum artifacts.  I found the design of the area using natural wood and stone elements has a soothing effect.  Watch how the design of the ramp brings you down to the lower levels. I found the wood and stone elements to be very soothing and a welcome change from the steel and dust of 9/11.


Sights to see on the grounds of The National 9/11 Museum consists of the 9/11 Memorial, the National 9/11 Museum, and the observation tower at 1 World Trade Center.


The 9/11 Memorial and Waterfall

The Memorial was designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker. The design was selected through an international competition that received 5,201 submissions from 63 countries. The memorial is an open space that is filled with trees that were planted during the reconstruction after September 11, 2001. There are two large waterfalls in the footprint of the North and South Towers.  I like to say the water flows into the darkness below symbolizing our eternal loss. Around each of the waterfalls are the names of the victims lost on September 11, 2001 and in the 1993 World Trade Center attack.

The Survivor Tree

The tree was nursed back to health in a New York City park and grew to be 30 feet tall, sprouting new branches and flowering in the springtime. It embodies the story of survival and resilience that is so important to the history of 9/11. Today, the tree is supported by temporary guide wires as it takes root.

9/11 Memorial Museum

“The Museum is the global focal point for preserving the history of the events of September 11, documenting the impact of the attacks, and exploring their continuing significance through monumental and personal artifacts, first-person accounts, and multimedia displays. It is located beneath the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. It includes two core exhibitions: In Memoriam, which pays tribute to those killed in the attacks on 9/11 and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and a three-part historical exhibition, which tells the story of what happened on 9/11, explores what led up to the attacks, and examines the aftermath and how 9/11 continues to shape our world. Tickets are available at and the box office located at the Museum pavilion.” Cited from  on August 8, 2016.


Why 9/11 First Responders should go to the National 9/11 Museum

I put off going to the memorial and museum for a long time.  I eventually went to the memorial and found the space to be very soothing.  For a long time I wondered how we could possibly move on from the huge loss of life we experienced on 9/11/01. I found that the activity and growth of the trees down there brings new life to Ground Zero.  I enjoy the open space and waterfalls while remembering what we did and the people we lost.  I eventually found my way to the National 9/11 Museum and was pleased to see how nice the museum was designed, the wood and stone material have a soothing quality.   I would suggest going to the museum when the mood strikes you.   We all remember what we saw and experienced, however, the contents of the museum are not nearly as bad as what we saw firsthand.  For me, it was also nice to learn more about the events and the background of what many now call, “That Day.”


Best Way to get there:

  • My first choice would be to park in Times square or another location along the west side and take the subway down to the World Trade Center. You can access a variety of parking lots and garages by taking the West Side Highway south from the George Washington Bridge or the Holland and Lincoln Tunnel.
  • You can drive down to the World Trade Center. Parking may be difficult on busy days.
  • If you are coming from Staten Island and points south you may want to park in Staten Island and take the New York City Ferry to Manhattan, (free ride, great view of the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and Wards Island.


Helpful Tips:

  • Bathrooms are available in local restaurants. A great NY tip is to sit down, order a coffee and a snack, in return you can use the bathroom for “Customers Only.”  This is how New Yorkers Square root it!   After all, you can always use a cup of coffee or tea and a slice of cheese cake.
  • I would eat light before going onto the grounds of the museum and the memorial. There is not much in the way of food on the grounds.  Later you can dine and one of many excellent restaurant choices in the area.
  • Warning about buying souvenirs from street vendors: Be patient and shop around, often you can buy the same item for less the further you get from a tourist attraction.  Always try to negotiate with street vendors.



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The Downwind Walk is about People, Caring,  Remembering and Honoring those we lost through leading a vigorous life. 

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The American Flag on the World Financial Center

“Red White and Blue” Photo by Jason Hums and Sonja Cajellas




This Hashtag #Downwindwalk is used to promote my book, The Downwind Walk: A USAR Paramedic’s Experiences on 9/11.  This book talks about what is was like to take the Downwind  Walk when we were always trained to move away from hazards by going upwind.  I share the stories of the people I worked with and how they got through the days and weeks after 9/11.  This book is not about me, rather this book is how I saw events and people on 9/11.

People who read the book tell me, “I felt like I was there with you on 9/11.  I could feel the tension, and experience the story with all my senses.”

Downwind Walk Continues…

The Downwind Walk is also about helping people who went into harms way to help others and now are dealing with the effects of “That Day”. I help emergency responder affected  by the response to calls which leave them distressed in the years that follow.

I am organizing a weekend retreat to help rescuers balance their active careers with the relaxing and restorative side of life.

My book is a visceral and human story of “boots on the Ground” response to Ground Zero. This story is an introspective book which seasoned responders read and enjoy being there with me experiencing the September 11, 2001 response and recovery.

The Lesson

If I had to say one thing I learned from 9/11 it is that life is fragile, we only have each other and we can remember those we lost by living vigorously in their name. OK, that was 3 things. 🙂 I always give you more poundage than you expect. Read the book and E-Mail me to tell me what you thought of the story.


I recommend this book if you want to feel something and experience first hand 9/11.

I require you to read this book if you are an emerging Homeland security or Emergency Management professional.

Contact Me:

If you read the book and have scrolled down this far you may e-mail me at for questions (Subject line : Downwind Walk Question).  I am also glad to meet people at Ground Zero and discuss the events  of 9/11.  Of course we can talk over pizza. 🙂




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9/11 Museum 5K Walk/Run – Call to Action


Check out the  5K Walk/Run  facebook Event:

I invite you to take the Downwind Walk with me again. I am Walking/Running to honor Paramedic Teri Rahilly. My former student is a great medic who is suffering from Wegener’s disease from 9/11/01. Teri gets dialysis and has no income. TERI WANTS TO SEE HER SON GRADUATE THE US MARINE BOOT CAMP ON APRIL 20, 2016.  I am donating all the money made from my book The Downwind Walk, between now and March 17th to Teri Rahilly.My goal is to sell 500 books to raise $2,500 for Teri and her mom to go to Paris Island and See her son in the Paris Island Graduation Ceremony. The Downwind Walk is available on Amazon.     CLICK HERE to purchase DWW


Come walk or buy the book for Teri. We need to care for our own as well as our patients. if you have already read the book, The Downwind Walk, makes a great present. I can reach this goal easily if each of you buys 2 books. PLEASE repost this event.

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The Twin Towers, As They Were Before 9/11Animation

I found this animation of the Twin Towers as they were before 9/11.  The animation features the architects who designed the building and the intent of the design features.

Loss is a terrible thing.  This we love are always in our heart, they a part of everything we do. The problem is not remembering 9/11, the problem is how do we move forward?  I think the way to move forward is to honor those we lost in our dedication, generosity and service to others.

What do you think?

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My Three Best Friends and September 11, 2001

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.

In a future post I will detail my rules To Live and Survive By for MCI response.

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Book Review: Report from Engine Company 82, by Dennis Smith

Report from Engine Company 82,

By Dennis Smith.An American Firefighting Classic

Published by Grand Central Publishing,

Hachette Book Group, New York City, 1999.

This book is an awesome account of firefighting in the Bronx in the 1970’s when fires where occurring back-to-back.  Dennis Smith was a firefighter in Engine 82 and Ladder 31 on Intervale Avenue near Freeman Street in the Bronx.  This book is the only book I have ever read in one night. I read this book in 1978 on a Friday night, by 1984 I was working in the Bronx as a paramedic. I have done many jobs with Engine 82 and love to read the history of FDNY.   This book is essential for new firefighters.

Report from Engine Company 82 details fires and events in the Bronx with funny stories that make you laugh and stories of death and destruction that make you pause and realize life is frail.  Dennis Smith details the loss of a firefighter who fell off the rear step and was killed by a responding ladder truck behind Engine Company 82.  Smith also tells of the deaths caused by malicious false alarms (One of the reasons fire alarm boxes have been reduced by the hundreds.)

Read about firefighting:

  • When firemen gauged a fires intensity by singeing of their ears
  • Before firemen wore bunker pants
  • When firemen rode on the rear step of apparatus
  • Learn why cabs of apparatus are now all enclosed
  • Learn the reasons behind safety rules and procedures we have present day

The Bronx has changed dramatically since the 1970’s. The burned out blocks of buildings are gone, replaced by modern fire resistant, water sprinklered buildings.  This book is a great read for firefighters and people interested in urban history. The book was originally printed in 1972 by McCall Books. Report from Engine Company 82 was out of print for many years but is now back on the “shelves”.

Author Facts: Dennis Smith also was Editor-In-Chief of Firehouse Magazine and authored a picture book entitled Firehouse, and another book entitled, Report From Ground Zero.Blacka and White Photos of Firemen in the 1970s

About Books Category

I want to share reviews of books I have read that you may find interesting.  Some of these books are EMS books, medical books or interesting non-work books I want to share with you.  I think it is important to keep reading and keep learning.  Please share your favorite books with in the Comments section.  Tell us the Title, Author, Publisher and what you liked about the book.  You will receive a free E-book for sharing.

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The Road to Recovery – Promoting Resiliency in First Responders, and Others Who Witness Trauma on a Regular Basis

Day in and day out – the most disturbing, horrific acts of violence, devastating disasters, and human beings who have survived every conceivable tragedy, are witnessed by First Responders, Military Personnel, and other Caregiving or Life Saving professionals. Just as a single organ does not operate independently from the rest of the body, so too, people responding to these events share the experience with every sense engaged and affected; taste, touch, smell, sound, sight, and respiration.

Some of the ‘imprinted’ sensations we are aware of, because they are so obviously unavoidable, yet others remain as footprints or clues that may not yet be visible. Anyone acting as witness to even a single episode of such magnitude experiences increased levels of stress that may be apparent in, but not limited to; blood pressure, respiration, vascular dilation, mood, cortisol, and so on.

It is a commonly held belief that, the people who do this every single day, “get used to it” or develop a “thick skin”. While it is true that a certain tolerance develops, the people who perform these types of essential services on a daily basis, are affected whether they realize it or not. In fact, it is an irony that compassion is a pre-requisite for optimal performance and often creates heroism in it’s purest form. If you have ever been the recipient of such services then you know when you are in the presence of ‘the real deal’, rather than someone who is just going through the motions.

However, the layering or accumulation of these experiences, and the lack of awareness about their effects creates a physiological ongoing response that is known as vicarious trauma. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD, the predecessor to the anticipated change in the next DSM, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome – PTSS, Stress, Depression, Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension, Insomnia and Diabetes are often either singularly or in combination, the result.

Much has been written about the five stages of grief, as originally identified by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, suffice to say that the completion of these stages are essential for First Responders, Military Personnel, and other Caregiving or Life Saving professionals. Although it is possible to be in multiple stages at a time, or not go through them in order, first and foremost, they are critical to issues of resolution.

Failure to fully allow the grieving process to play out often results in a further alteration of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual functioning. A lack of connection to others, avoiding intimacy, indulging in self medication, dissociation – a lack of physical awareness that may result in accidental injuries, risk taking behaviors, insomnia, increased or uncontrollable anger, abusive behavior – to self or others, or anything else that numbs you out, ALL are symptoms of aversion, which ultimately only brings more pain. Acceptance does NOT equal resignation.

Does holding on to the traumas you have witnessed prevent you from experiencing living life today? Have you lost a sense of connection or the ability to communicate authentically with family, friends, children, co-workers, or your community? Are you willing to consider how “keeping it in the vault”, over time occupies more and more valuable space that may be better filled with relationships or living? Are you willing to stop punishing yourself for someone lost or one you could not save, to remember instead all whose lives have been made better or possible due to your efforts?

Many people avoid addressing old issues for fear of what may be buried beneath the surface. In both my personal and professional experience I have often heard, “I am afraid that if I let myself cry or let the feelings out they will never stop” or “I will be so overwhelmed that I will not be able to function”. Just as a physical wound that looks relatively healed on the outside but is festering with infection underneath would not remain viable tissue indefinitely, so too it is with injuries of mind, emotion, and spirit.

Although intervention may be required to clean, heal, and restore the flesh underneath, so too the effects of trauma occasionally need to be re-opened. At the same time there is a difference between wounding pain and healing pain. While both exist on a continuum from mild to excruciating, in most cases healing pain is the by far easier to endure because at least it is pain with purpose.

Is there some ceremonial, or metaphorical way that you can lay down the burden of the fallen, or wounded by honoring their memory? Is it possible to place your burden somewhere else so that the earth that is your body is no longer polluted by your efforts to contain or carry it. Is there a way you can express it less directly but equally fully through movement, sound, writing, language, color, volunteerism, athletic or recreational pursuits?? Forgive yourself, love yourself and open your heart to release the others you currently bear.

Resiliency is made up of every day acts of awareness, flexibility, endurance, strength, focus, mindfulness, constructive self soothing, expression, and sharing your gifts. Reconnecting to your senses relates to increasing healthier forms of both pleasure and joy. There are many therapies such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Re-Processing (EMDR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Expressive Therapies, and Mindfulness Practices that have all proven effective. Find the combination that works for you. There may be one or several, that work for you, who ever said it has to add up to 100?

I hope this has if not opened a door to healing, at least provided some food for thought. I look forward to hearing your questions, concerns, and comments. Feel free to contact me directly at or

Many thanks to my new colleague Steven for this wonderful opportunity to gather a few of my thoughts. In the belief of all that is possible.

BlessedbeBeth of

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Flag Day June 14th

“Red White and Blue” Photo by Jason Hums and Sonja Cajellas

June 14th is Flag Day which is a day to recognize our flag.  I personally have a new found allegiance to see the flag after seeing the flag at Ground Zero after September 11, 2001.  I have realized that in the worst days of our country we are a nation of one and not a nation of cities.   The American flag endures in the worst moments of our country’s history.

On September 11th I responded to the World Trade Center and worked hard to rescue people lost in the collapse of the Twin Towers.  I had been a at many serious jobs in New York City but had never seen the American Flag displayed at a scene.  When I looked up and saw the flag I was deeply moved.  Upon returning home I was impressed to see  a flag on every house in my neighborhood.

To read more about my experiences at Ground Zero after 9/11 go to:–Downwind-Walk.aspx

This photo was taken by paramedic Jason Hums and Dr. Sonja Calias.

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