I am participating in a study sponsored by Columbia University, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. These organizations are conducting comprehensive public safety studies into the evacuation of and emergency response to the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001. The goal of these studies is to enhance the safety of occupants in tall buildings by improving understanding of human behavior, improving emergency response capabilities and procedures, and enabling improvements to U.S. building and fire codes,standards, and practices.

These researchers are coordinating their activities with the overarching goal of seeking to improve life safety in the future for building occupants and first responders. Some critical questions surrounding the events of September 11th that the group of researchers will address include:

·How do specific building design features promote or hinder evacuation of buildings?
·Can we better enable persons with disabilities to safely evacuate from tall buildings?
·How do people become aware of their situations and make decisions during a time-constrained evacuation?
·How can emergency communications in tall buildings be improved to ensure that the occupants and emergency responders have the information they need -- in as timely a way as possible -- to make the best decisions for themselves and others in need of rescue?
·What type of training can improve the evacuation of people from buildings?

Suffice to stay that after evacuating from the 78th floor of the WTC, high rise buildings are not my favorite place right now. I thought it would be interesting to hear the opinions of all the fire service professionals out here on these issues. I think the imput of firefighters in these studies should be essential and I have told them so.

Are high rises really safe? (question for my peace of mind )

It would be a good thing in my opinion to apply the findings of these studies on the buildings planned for construction in the former World Trade Center site.

Fire away those opinions.......

God Bless!