9/11 Stories: Former EMS Chief Jim Martin

Then New York City EMS Chief Officer Jim Martin no doubt saved countless lives and may have prevented future 9/11 illnesses for thousands on September 11th when he had the presence of mind to ask New York City firefighters (the NYC EMS is run by the FDNY, the Fire Department Of NYC) to set up a misting spray so that the thousands fleeing Lower Manhattan, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, covered in dust from the pulverized World Trade, could be decontaminated.

It would be years before the toxic dust would be scientifically linked to at least 68 cancers. None of that was known on 9/11.

Jim was just using a technique he had learned years before at a 5 Boro NYC bike tour. It was 90-plus degrees that day. To prevent bicyclists from suffering heat exhaustion or worse, Martin and his FDNY team used a misting spray to cool down the weakened athletes at the end of the bike tour on Staten Island.

Martin will never know how many lives he saved on 9/11 but he credits the FDNY with its impeccable training. Skin cancer is the most common 9/11 cancer, followed by prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Anyone who was in the exposure zone over 8 months and is certified with a 9/11 illness is entitled to free lifetime health care in every state, AND, likely, compensation from the Victim Compensation Fund.

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