AC Alert for September 4, 2011 Like It All Happened…Just Yesterday

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AC Alert for September 4, 2011 Like It All Happened…Just Yesterday
Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 2:00pm

As late summer days go in New York, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was about as nice as it gets in New York City and Washington, DC, weather-wise. Over the two cities the morning sky was a brilliant blue from horizon-to-horizon, visibility was virtually unlimited and temperatures were in the low 70‘ with very light winds. Most New Yorkers were going through the motions of what seemed to be a routine workday morning.

The most frequent topic of conversation? Football’s New York Giants had suffered a 31-20  loss the previous night to the Denver Broncos on national TV. Frustration with the outcome of that game seemed to dominate conversation among the thousands of New York City police and firefighters on duty that morning...that is until a little after 8 a.m. when the first giant passenger jet flew into the World Trade Center.

Immediately all our lives changed forever. Nowhere was that change more sudden, dramatic or threatening than for the first responders assigned to the World Trade Center. With the heroism they so often displayed, they charged to the scene and with their selfless actions demonstrated why they are known as New York’s “finest” and “bravest.”

They battled unfathomable odds in their efforts to rescue thousands of workers that morning, but they also battled a communication system filled with dead spots and an inability to cross communicate between services. It would be nice to report that, ten years later, those problems have been addressed citywide and nationwide, but unfortunately that is not the case.

“Amid the chaos of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, emergency responders found they could not communicate with each other. That problem persists 10 years later,” according to a review of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. A National Preparedness Group report released Wednesday concludes that the recommendation that a nationwide broadband network for emergency responders be created "continues to languish."

"Despite the lives at stake, the recommendation to improve radio inter-operability for first responders has stalled because of a political fight over whether to allocate 10 MHz of radio spectrum ... directly to public safety for a nationwide network, or auction it off to a commercial wireless bidder who would then be required to provide priority access on its network dedicated to public safety during emergencies," says the report, whose authors include 9/11 Commission chairmen Congressman Lee Hamilton and NJ Governor Thomas Kean. Law enforcement and emergency responders around the country have long supported the creation of the communication network.

In January, President Barack Obama announced his support for allocating the radio space -- known as the D-block spectrum -- to police and other emergency workers. Bills that would set aside the D-block and create a communications network have been introduced in both the House and the Senate this year -- but so far have not been passed in either chamber. The National Preparedness Group report said statewide communications inter-operability plans and the creation of a national emergency communications plan have improved emergency coordination across different jurisdictions. But more work needs to be done, and the ultimate solution, the report said, is to follow the 9/11 Commission's recommendation and create a nationwide communications network. (Source: Associated Press)

If ever there was a need for greater public sector “accountability” to first responders who put their lives at risk -- this is it!  

"Accountability" -- the word is becoming ever more important to leaders in the private, social and public sectors. The term "held accountable" is prevalent in news reports and media commentary. Expectations of greater "accountability" are key factors in shaping public opinion and public perception of organizations. That especially includes effective risk management on the part of our national leaders to protect lives and property and the organs of the U.S. government.

In AC our editors focus on news, commentary, research, trends, and actions of key players shaping "accountability" and the impact on individuals, business organizations, public agencies and social institutions. With the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, we offer these recent “disaster-related” excerpts from AC Enterprise Risk Management section as food for thought:


Firefighters who went to ground zero face increased cancer risk
(Source: Los Angeles Times) Firefighters who rushed to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 and those who worked at the site in the weeks and months after the terrorist attack continue to live with an increased risk of cancer, according to a new study in the journal Lancet. The incidence of cancer in firefighters who worked at ground zero was 32% higher than in firefighters who did not spend time in Lower Manhattan. After adjusting for the fact that doctors spent more time examining the health of rescue workers after 9/11, researchers still found that firefighters who worked at the trade center site were 19% more likely than their counterparts to develop any kind of cancer.

Why al-Qaida is unlikely to execute another 9/11?
(Source: The Vancouver Sun) It is Sept. 1, and that means we are once again approaching the anniversary of al-Qaida's Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States. In the 10 years that have passed since the attacks, a lot has happened and much has changed in the world, but many people can still vividly recall the sense of fear, uncertainty and helplessness they felt on that September morning. Millions of people watched United Airlines flight 175 smash into the south tower of the World Trade Center on live television.

Earthquake shows difficulty of evacuation from DC
(Source: CSB News) The 5.8-magnitude quake that shook much of the East Coast in August demonstrated that evacuating our Nation’s Capital during an emergency could tax the city's resources. Traffic was snarled for miles in downtown Washington as employers released workers early at the same time as thousands of commuters tried to drive home or cram onto buses and trains already overloaded and slowed by speed restrictions because of the quake. A strong evacuation plan is seen as especially critical for Washington, the seat of federal government and a city perpetually on guard against terrorist attacks.

For the Governor of Vermont, a Crash Course in Disaster Management
(Source: The New York Times) Eight months into a two-year term he expected to be dominated by health care and economic issues, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, a 55-year-old Democrat, now faces a complicated and costly recovery effort that could well be the defining issue of his governorship. Dozens of homes were destroyed or badly damaged across the state by flash flooding from Tropical Storm Irene also closing a state office complex and leaving roads and bridges in tatters.

Bird flu self-defense: 7 key questions answered
(Source: CBS News) Is the bird flu making a comeback? The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on August 29 there was evidence that a mutant strain of the H5N1 avian influenza virus was spreading in Asia and beyond, "with unpredictable risks to human health." The CDC says H5N1 poses no threat in the U.S. - at least at this point. Still, Americans are newly curious about bird flu, which according to the FAO has infected 565 people and killed 331 since it first appeared in 2003.

This is just a sampling of the information in our Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics.

Keywords: 9/11 | Social Impact & Volunteering | Accountability-Central | CSR | ESG | G&A Institute | SRI | September 11th | Sustainability | We Remember