Site management of health issues in the 2001 World Trade Center disaster

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center led to the greatest loss of life from a criminal incident in the history of the United States. There were 2,801 persons killed or missing at the disaster site, including 147 dead on two hijacked aircraft. Hundreds of buildings sustained direct damage or contamination. Forty different agencies responded with command and control exercised by an incident command system as well as an emergency operations center. Dozens of hazards complicated relief and recovery efforts. Five victims were rescued from the rubble. Up to 1,000 personnel worked daily at the World Trade Center disaster site. These workers collectively made an average of 270 daily presentations to health care providers in the first month post-disaster. Of presentations for clinical symptoms, leading clinical diagnoses were ocular injuries, headaches, and lung injuries. Mechanical injury accounted for 39% of clinical presentations and appeared preventable by personal protective equipment. Limitations emerged in the site application of emergency triage and clinical care. Notable assets in the site management of health issues include action plans from the incident command system, geographic information system products, wireless application technology, technical consensus among health and safety authorities, and workers' respite care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-660
Number of pages11
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003

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Keywords

  • Disaster
  • Disaster management
  • Disaster medical assistance teams
  • Emergency operations center
  • Epidemiology
  • Geographic information systems
  • Hazards
  • Incident command
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Prevention
  • Surveillance
  • Urban search and rescue
  • World Trade Center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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