Protecting responders

Editorial Daily American

Almost 12 years after United Flight 93 crashed in Stonycreek Township after passengers revolted against terrorist hijackers, some people who responded to the scene are suffering from medical issues.

If those medical conditions are related to the response, those people are eligible for benefits through the World Trade Center Health Program. It is for people who worked in rescue, recovery and cleanup, which includes people in the community who just showed up to help.

Only certain conditions are covered, but that list of conditions may be updated if a link can be found between future illness, such as cancer, and the work at any of the three September 11 sites.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met with people at the Shanksville school on Thursday. While only four people attended the sessions, others may still want more information about eligibility. They may visit www.cdc.gov/wtc online for more information.

These benefits are available for anyone who was at the crash site for at least four hours between September 11 and Oct. 3, 2001. The program will cover an annual physical, treatment, monitoring and prescription medication.

If you are suffering from an illness or mental condition that may have been a result of work at the Flight 93 crash site you should at least find out if you are eligible for benefits. If you don’t register now you won’t be able to sign up later. If you don’t need help paying for treatment you may still help others by contributing to the research by completing the medical questionnaire available from the CDC.

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