It’s easy to put those stickers on your helmet. It’s easy to buy some tee shirts. It’s easy to look at the logo Pierce has been slapping on trucks for years and say, “Look, we’re never forgetting 9/11.” All of these things are nice. None of these things really remembers the most important lessons of 9/11.
We all know those guys are heroes. We in the fire service knew it before 9/11. We will always know it. That is not a lesson learned and it doesn’t help us mitigate the next attack. So let’s not become so wrapped around memorializing the last attack that we fail to prepare for the next.
Get your business straight and your house in order before it happens to you. Is your department up on its mass casualty management skills? Are you squared away on hazmat? What about CBRNE response? Have you really studied what nuclear detonation effects look like in an urban area? Do you have a contingency plan for a contagious pandemic that keeps your people out of work? What will you do when your local hospitals need dozens of BVM squeezers because they’re out of mechanical ventilators?
Honoring the heroes and the ordinary folks of 9/11 is good and proper. It’s also easy, but what’s easy does not live up to our solemn duties owed.