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MAHONING VALLEY Duzzny: Help is best spread out over time



Published: Sat, September 15, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Four Canfield police officers have volunteered to go to New York.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Everyone wants to help.

To be effective at the site of terrorist attacks in lower Manhattan, the help has to be spread out over the coming weeks, said Walter M. Duzzny, executive director of the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency.

"You can't have too many people all at once or the job won't get done right," Duzzny said. "That's why all my counterparts across the country have 'emergency management' in their title."

Suicide-mission terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners Tuesday morning and aimed them like missiles at the World Trade Center in New York and Pentagon in Washington, D.C. One jet that went awry crashed 80 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Firefighters, police, paramedics, ironworkers and others in specialized professions have been on the job at the site of the collapsed World Trade Center's twin towers in New York since Tuesday.

The scene is the same at the Pentagon, where the destruction was not as severe and the loss of life not as staggering.

Here's the concern: After 72 hours, the body, which until then has been driven by sheer will power, starts to show the signs of little or no sleep and extreme exertion, Duzzny said. That's when mistakes and accidents can happen.

Duzzny said it's important to keep in mind that only those qualified to help in New York and Washington will be asked to do so. Police must replace police, firefighters must replace firefighters and so on, he said.

For now, New York City's emergency operations can draw replacement disaster relief from its own state and Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and eastern Pennsylvania, Duzzny said. As the weeks pass, the monumental task of safeguarding the area while debris and countless bodies are removed may require replacements drawn from other states, he said.

What he tells people: "We've had calls from people saying they were going [to New York] and we said 'Wait a minute. How are you going to get there? Where will you stay?'" Duzzny said. "We told them to wait until New York emergency operations calls -- they'll arrange for replacements."

Duzzny said he spoke to a New York emergency operations staff member Thursday.

"We let them know the resources we have -- firefighters, police, EMS and who would volunteer," Duzzny said. "They don't need anyone now but asked if the volunteers would be available a week from now or two weeks from now."

Duzzny said the type of conversation he had with the operations center is taking place across the country as emergency management agencies check in with New York to offer assistance. Those willing to go know the stay will likely be for 10 days, he said.

Local volunteers: Canfield Police Department has two sergeants and two patrolmen who have volunteered to go, said Sgt. Bob Magnuson, one of the sergeants on the list.

Another on the list is Patrolman Chris Ruiz, who is from New York and whose brother is a New York City police officer, Magnuson said. Ruiz's mother works in New York, 20 blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood, Magnuson said.




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