In the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks, our nation demonstrated fortitude and perseverance. Firefighters from around the country arrived in New York City within 48 hours to assist with the recovery missions. As the fire service mourned the loss of 343 members of FDNY along with other first responders and civilians who died that day, it was clear that collectively we would promise to never forget.
Fourteen-years later, buildings have been rebuilt, memorials established and remembrances held. The fire service continues to honor the 343 in numerous ways, including the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs. We have upheld our promise to never forget.
As we approach another anniversary, I ask you to also remember the steadily increasing number of firefighters who were there, working at Ground Zero for days, weeks and months. Thousands of these courageous firefighters have battled or are now battling cancer and other related illnesses caused by the toxins from that catastrophe.
Dr. David Prezant, FDNY’s Chief Medical Officer and Special Advisor to the Commissioner on Health Policy, has been actively following these illnesses. He recently shared some staggering statistics with us, including:
- More than 7,000 FDNY Firefighters and EMTs have been treated for a 9/11 injury or illness now almost 14 years later.
- 5,400 members have been diagnosed with lower respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and less commonly emphysema, COPD, sarcoidosis or pulmonary fibrosis.
- 5,200 members have been diagnosed with upper respiratory diseases such as chronic rhinosinusitis and/or vocal cord diseases.
- 3,700 members have been diagnosed with mental health stress-related conditions.
- 5,400 members have been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disorders.
- 1,100 have developed a cancer caused by 9/11 toxins. Of those, 44 have died despite access to treatment.
We ask that when you pause to remember those who died on 9/11 that you also think about the thousands still dealing with the impact to their health 14 years later.