Move beyond 9/11 symbolism to improve future response

Beyond disaster preparedness training and equipment lies better understanding of how rescuers will feel and react after such tragedies

Editor’s Note:

Editor's note: Lawyers for the Sept. 11 memorial defend the display of a steel cross being challenged in a lawsuit brought by a national atheists group.

It's been 11 years since 9/11, and we are still sensitive to issues surrounding the World Trade Center catastrophe. I think that for many us in the public safety world, the experience will continue to shape us for a long time to come.

The issue of the steel cross goes beyond these religious objections. Many believe that there is a sacredness in the remains of the event that needs to be preserved and serve as both reminders and lessons learned.

I hope that we can move beyond the symbolism and simultaneously use those lessons to improve our ability to prepare for and respond to these extreme emotional events that no doubt will continue to occur.

Beyond disaster preparedness training and equipment lies a better understanding of how rescuers will feel and react in the weeks and months afterward.

This is especially true when a large number of public safety providers are injured or killed. We must have better ways to help ourselves when such tragedy strikes.

I have no doubt that the lawsuit will be rejected. Let us remember the sad events of the past while we move on.

About the author

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor 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 writer, author of "EMT Exam for Dummies," has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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