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Home > Topics > Homeland Security
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Have we already forgotten 9/11?

We might not be any readier to respond now to another terrorist event of that magnitude

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: Money raised from selling special license plates was earmarked for anti-terrorism preparation, but it went to plug Calif.'s deficit instead, and Art Hsieh is not surprised.

How quickly we — or at least in this case, state officials — forget.

At least it's in keeping with how we as a nation have become increasingly complacent about homeland security and protection of its first responders.

It's been nearly 11 years since 9/11. Remember how crazy it was during the first couple of years post-attack? Lots of money and time were spent developing tactics and equipment for the next terror event response.

Was it was an effective use of resources? Time will tell — there hasn't been another attack of that magnitude.

Frankly, I'm not certain that we will be any readier to respond. Over time, we have spent less money and time to incident management preparation, and as new providers come into the ranks, the events from 11 years ago comprise but a historical fact.

I have to agree with the individual quoted in the article on how unsurprised she was when she found out money set aside for 9/11 survivors and disaster response training was being used for other parts of the state's fiscal budget woes.

The state hasn't been able to figure out that there is not enough money to go around for every program out there, nor has it figured out how to generate more revenue.

It has figured out how to cut programs, though, causing rippling — tearing really — through regions, cities and towns who are trying to provide essential services on a daily basis.

It'll all balance out eventually, but I hope we make it safely.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
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