On Tuesday, the 11th of September of 2001, disaster struck America in the form of terrorist attacks, most notably on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Calls went out to emergency medical response teams all over New York City, including privately owned and volunteer ambulance organizations.
Brooklyn College EMS was among those contacted before ten o’clock in the morning to respond to the scene of the crisis. Several members did their best to get to the city despite impossible conditions. The BC unit was delayed at the Brooklyn end of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel for hours, rendering aid to those in need at that location before making its way to the vicinity of the towers. They returned, physically safe, well after dark that evening.
Back at campus, some of the squad remained behind to provide emergency care to those locally who might need it. Security was on alert, and rapidly began running vans in conjunction with the EMS for those willing to donate blood back and forth from campus to local hospitals. Volunteers met up at the Emergency Medical Squad’s office in 021 New Ingersoll, where Public Safety directed them to board waiting vans. The turnout was impressive. Classes had been cancelled for the afternoon, but the office filled rapidly with those who waited, almost impatient to give their support and assistance. Hospitals began turning people away, taking names and phone numbers, due to a shortage of blood bags and forms. The waiting list for those waiting to donate was extensive at many hospitals. “I am deeply moved by the compassion that our campus community showed to the countless victims of this terrible event,” said Allen Minzer, Chief of Operations of BC-EMS.
In the days after the towers fell, BC-EMS is still working just as determinedly to organize further blood drives and assistance for the remainder of the rescue and recovery efforts. Information on those efforts can best be obtained through those numbers listed on those television stations still broadcasting, although volunteers are always needed. For information on Brooklyn College’s EMS, please contact them at (718) 951-5859.