Many 9/11 first responders and survivors are now living right here in Southwest Florida, and are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
Toxins from destruction have caused many survivors to develop lasting diseases.
Walt Zalisko, retired Jersey City Police Chief details the morning of 9/11.
“The first thing that you are thinking of is trying to help people, trying to rescue people so you are not thinking about yourself, ” said Zalisko.
Thousands of Americans lost there lives, and more were left with lasting health impacts.
“You are inhaling all the pulverized concrete, the asbestos, the toxic fumes from the fire,” said Zalisko.
Many survivors and first responders were diagnosed with cancers and other conditions, and are particularly vulnerable as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It wasn’t until a few months later that you started to experience some breathing problems a nagging cough, and it was a few years later that I was diagnosed with cancer, ” said Zalisko.
Lawyer Micheal Barasch encourages survivors to seek benefits & compensation provided by the World Trade Center Health Program.
“It is not just for firefighters and cops, its for anyone who was in the 9/11 exposure zone, ” said Barasch.
He represents 20,000 9/11 first responders and survivors who have become sick as a result of exposure to Ground Zero toxins (including 1,500 in Florida). During the COVID-19 pandemic, 100 of the people he represents have died.
“There are clinics all over for that provide free healthcare. You owe it to yourself if you are a 9/11 community member to protect yourself because you are at risk. Please take care of yourself, ” said Barasch.
Click here for additional resources about the World Trade Center Health Program.