HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — This week marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
As America remembers, the far-reaching impacts of the attacks are still being felt.
Eyewitness News spoke with first responders about what they call “are the lessons learned from 9/11.” Those Eyewitness News spoke with say those lessons are still be learned. Nearly 500 first responders perished on 9/11. First responders say those lives, those heroes, were not lost in vain.
There are images that are forever engrained in the minds and psyche of Americans. The 9/11 terrorist attacks. Among those images: first responders rushing toward the World Trade Center, many never to return. Hazleton Fire Chief Don Leshko says that day highlighted what first responders and their families already knew.
“I think the events of 9/11 changed the public perception of first responders. I think that day on you see the perception of first responders, knowing that everyone is running away from danger, first responders are running into danger,” Leshko said.
Chief Leshko says lessons learned from 9/11 are being put to use today even 20 years later.
“I think it brought a lot of training involved especially in hazmat area and CVR area, that we deal with the weapons of mass destruction. But I also think it brought to light the need for first responders to have equipment, the gear, turnout gear, improving turnout gear, and improving radio communications,” Leshko said.
Leshko says the 9/11 attacks brought about an increased awareness of what types of structures are located in their response area just in case of an emergency.
“I think to put into perspective a lot of first responders went and looked at their area more how can I say more of a microscope understanding the buildings, the areas that are going on in their response area And to make sure they know what they are dealing with not when they get to the incident but to be prepared for it before they get there,” Leshko said.
Other first responders Eyewitness News spoke with across our region echoed Chief Leshko’s comments. In fact many say they became a first responder, whether it be police, firefighters or EMS because of the 9/11 attacks.