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Thread: Ground Zero ills spur insure plan

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Ground Zero ills spur insure plan

    Ground Zero ills spur insure plan


    Two congressmen went to a Maspeth firehouse to tout a program they have proposed to give Ground Zero workers long-term health care.

    "We are here to tell Congress to get real and get our priorities straight, and pass immediately a $90 million program for long-term medical monitoring and treatment for 9/11 first responders," said Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) Monday outside the HazMat/Engine Co. 288 firehouse.

    The Worker and Volunteer Medical Monitoring Program was proposed after respiratory illnesses and psychological stress in Ground Zero workers were found to be on the rise.

    "We are more concerned now because things have quieted down, and now we are finding that a lot of workers are more short-tempered and are having more disciplinary problems," said Donald Faeth, an Emergency Medical Service union vice president.

    Faeth added that many workers may feel that getting counseling is a sign of weakness.

    "They don't have the patience to work through it, so we are demanding that the department have mandatory counseling," Faeth said.

    The federal program would ensure that the 18,000 Fire Department, Police Department and EMS workers and volunteers receive long-term independent medical testing and documentation for any ailments they develop. The program also would provide followup examinations after one, five, 10, 15 and 20 years.

    Under the plan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would work with Manhattan's Mount Sinai Medical Center to maintain the examination schedule, screening Ground Zero workers and maintaining their records for at least 20 years.

    Long-term commitment

    "This is not a one-shot deal, but a long-term commitment to monitor the health of these workers that sacrificed so much," said Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), adding that ailments contracted by the workers may lie dormant and only appear in 10 to 15 years.

    "We need to establish documentation for health ailments that may be related to their professional duties in order to receive adequate compensation."

    Lt. Neil Skow, who transferred to the Maspeth firehouse in January from Ladder Co. 2 in Manhattan, and sought counseling to deal with the loss of his best friend, Capt. Fred Ill, who died Sept. 11, looks forward to the program being offered.

    "There is nothing shameful or embarrassing about counseling," said Skow. "When we were offered counseling, I took a timeout to talk about it.

    "I plan on doing it again and encourage my colleagues to do the same. It has helped incredibly."

  2. #2
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    CT, USA
    And I agree with Lt Skow.

    It's not a great thing to be getting agitated at stupid, little simple things. If you feel like you are losing your temper more, then do the counseling bit.

    It helps tremendously. And it's no big deal.
    Brian Shea
    Co-Director of Fallen Brothers Foundation
    (foundation charity dissolved 2006)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    This program is a great step toward rebuilding a strong family who can depend upon and protect each other. Good to hear your comments, Brian.

    When I visited some Manh & Bklyn firehouses in late March, I sat with one young firefighter who wanted to talk about how hard it was getting for him to be around a lot of anger at the house. He understood it, but it was frightening to him and he felt it was depleting his eagerness to serve us as a firefighter.

    My heart went out to him. I truly hope you all try to talk thru your experiences with someone. Someone trained to put out the fire within you that might be consuming you.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2002

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    What a fantastic idea! I'm only surprised no-one thought of it before. I read Dennis Smith's book "Report from Ground Zero", which was harrowing enough - I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for those who went through it all, and experienced such horror and destruction first hand. However, I can understand that they will need all the help and support they can get to work through it, and deal with the grief and anger. I only hope Congress will, too. And to any firefighters out there who may feel, deep down, that to seek counselling is to admit weakness, please, don't feel like that. What you saw and experienced on 9/11 would shake the strongest, most courageous person to their very core, and no one would expect you to deal with that on your own. You are heroes, but you are still human. Don't be afraid to seek help if you feel you need it.

    Love to all.

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