California Search-and-Rescue Workers, Volunteers Head to New York
In the wake of yesterday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., about 200 specially trained search-and-rescue workers from Los Angeles, Riverside and Sacramento flew from California to New York City yesterday, and 100 more in Oakland and Menlo Park "stood by" for another flight, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The 200 workers, "veterans of floods, fires, earthquakes" and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, are members of three urban search-and-rescue teams that were called up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency late yesterday afternoon. The teams include medical experts, civilian structural engineers, chaplains and dogs that can pick up the scent of victims. Trained to work for three to four days "almost without sleep," the teams each have 72 hours worth of food and water, medical supplies, construction tools, microphones and cameras. The rescue workers were scheduled to land in New York early today. Sacramento Fire Captain Dave Whitt said, "We want to be there in the first 12 to 24 hours so we can have some effect and hopefully pull out some live people" (DelVecchio/Stannard, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/12). Fresno-based American Red Cross disaster-action team members also traveled to New York as part of the "national mobilization of volunteers to provide emergency help for" New York. Members of those teams "have varied training, ranging from first aid and damage assessment to mass care and driving relief vehicles" (Keeler, Fresno Bee, 9/12).
Yesterday's attack also impacted the health care system in California, as a liver transplant operation for a girl at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital was not performed because the liver could not be flown from New Mexico after the nation's air transport system was shut down, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Ruthann Richter, a spokesperson for the hospital, said the liver has started to "deteriorate" and can no longer be used. "The medical consequences of this are enormous. Without the liver, the mortality rate is 90%," she added. With the air traffic shutdown, hospitals and the United Network for Organ Sharing are "temporarily" unable to match patients with donors from outside their own regions (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/12).
Meanwhile, hundreds of California residents donated blood to assist the relief efforts for yesterday's terrorist attacks. In Los Angeles, hundreds of residents and students "lined up" and waited hours to donate at blood banks (Ferrell, Los Angeles Times, 9/12). Blood donation centers around Orange County and throughout Southern California "were reportedly overrun" by donors, and American Red Cross officials said that potential donors may have to "make appointments days or weeks in advance" (Brennan/Liddane, Orange County Register, 9/12). A "crush of donors" in the Bay Area also "lined up in droves" to give blood, an "overwhelming response" similar to the outpouring of donors after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In San Francisco alone, about 1,000 residents visited the Blood Centers of the Pacific headquarters, and dozens waited more than five hours to donate blood at the Pleasanton American Red Cross (Krishnan, Contra Costa Times, 9/12). In Fresno, a "line of people spilled out" of the Central California Blood Center, with hundreds of residents waiting hours to donate blood. Blood center President and CEO Dean Eller estimated that up to 400 residents had donated blood by 2 p.m., while "several hundred more" waited to donate (Clough, Fresno Bee, 9/11). Residents in Sacramento also "flocked" to the Sacramento Blood Center, the Northern California "hub" for the state blood bank system, forcing the facility to shift into "full emergency mode." By noon, hundreds of residents waited, some for two or three hours, to donate blood (Hubert, Sacramento Bee, 9/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.