12 years later, the fallout continues
We will be seeing these cases for years to come
By Art Hsieh
In just over a week the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will pass, with the usual array of tributes and recognitions throughout our country. As will be the trend, the day will pass more quietly than before, with fewer people taking the moment to reflect what the events of that day means for our country. And really, that's okay — it means that our nation continues to move on.
But we should not forget that people will continue to die from illnesses they contracted because of that day. Many of those will be first responders who worked the World Trade Center in the weeks after the collapse of the towers, who were unable to protect themselves from the enormity of the situation. These stories are already fading from our collective memory and it’s imperative that survivors receive the benefits that they are entitled to.
Meanwhile, it's worth reflecting each year to see where our own agencies are now. Are we prepared for the next major incident? Have the years of training in terror response put us in a better place to respond? I'd like to think so. But, we're human too, and it's hard to maintain a prepared mental state after a decade plus. We all take our IS-100 and 700 courses, but most small and mid-size agencies are poorly equipped to respond to a major incident. And, the money continues to dry up, year after year.
I hope you'll join me next week when the anniversary passes, and pause to remember those in our ranks who gave it their all in the line of duty, as well as those who will continue to do so in the years to come. And like batteries of a smoke alarm, brush off your response plans and update them as necessary. Let's be prepared for the next Big One.