Editor's Note: With the approach of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Emmaus Patch asked various members of the local community to talk about how the events of that tragic day impacted them. We will run the responses we received throughout the week leading up to Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011.
Chief Mike Nonnemacher reflects on the impact of 9/11 on the ambulance corps:
"Since 9/11/2001 there certainly has been much discussion of our preparedness and the preparedness of the U.S.A. and its citizens against terrorism," Nonnemaker says. "Training, equipment, and resources have been greatly impacted.
"For example, the requirements to qualify for state or federal funds are now tied to specific training programs. Local squads, counties, and municipalities must be certified in NIMS (National Incident Management System) to qualify for funds.
"This program defines the communication and structure needed to implement Incident Command on a local, county, state and federal level depending on the size of the incident, and what population is involved.
"Of course, Federal, State and DOH (Department of Health) funding was increased through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and PEMA (Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency). Federal and state funds are available, however, the writing and grant application process requires a great deal of time and specific skills and knowledge in order to be successful.
"Since our economy for the last decade has seen a significant increase in joblessness, we have seen an increase in applicants for career and per diem positions. We have fewer volunteers for the same reasons.
"Are we prepared for terrorism? Certainly we are more prepared than before 9/11. However, we must continue to be vigilant. Many states, counties, cities and municipalities are extremely well prepared. What we should be fearful of is complacency."