January 23, 2020
Many answered the call on September 11, 2001. Firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and medical professionals – among a long list of brave professionals. One group that has either gone unmentioned or received little coverage is made up of the men and women who attend to communication, electricity, water, and gas utilities. Yes, utility workers. They were also there on 9/11, as well as the months after the attacks, and they too deserve recognition – in addition to rightful compensation.
Are utility workers considered as first responders?
The reason utility workers do not receive the same public attention as firefighters and police officers is because they are not tasked with saving lives in emergency situations. As a result, they are not officially considered as first responders.
Never underestimate Con Ed, Verizon, and cable or water utility workers.
The job functions and responsibilities of utility workers – under any circumstances – are somewhat taken for granted. With variables that range from poor weather conditions to long and irregular hours, utility workers often work under risky conditions. Consider this: In a disaster situation, a utility worker’s ability to either fix or maintain phone wires or electric wires ensures that emergency lines are kept open and clear for communication between call centers and anyone who calls for help. So, while utility workers may not save lives in the hands-on sense of the term, their services are invaluable as they supplement the tasks of first responders and other emergency personnel.
All of us at the 9/11 law firm of Turley Hansen & Rosasco, LLP know how important utility workers were in rebuilding New York City after 9/11. Employees who were employed with Verizon, Con Ed, Time Warner, or any other utility service, and were on the scene at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan during and after 9/11 are considered as first responders and are listed as being so on our website. These professionals – along with first responders, Downtown NYC workers, residents, students and teachers – were exposed to the toxins and contaminated air that resulted from the attacks, and therefore must be counted among those who are eligible to receive compensation for their suffering.
A look back…
Nine years ago, we wrote about one of our first clients who had been a casualty of 9/11 – a young telecommunications worker for Sprint. We also represented a Verizon technician. Both of these utility professionals were in the vicinity of Ground Zero for the difficult purpose of trying to restore service. Both technicians – like so many others – had been misled into thinking the air in that environment was safe to breathe. (At that time, why would anyone doubt presumably trusted officials such as Christine Todd Whitman, head of the Environmental Protection Agency?) The Sprint technician was eventually diagnosed with interstitial lung disease. The Verizon worker was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer (carcinoma). And these are only two of many utility workers we have represented over the years. We exclusively represent many survivors of 9/11 with the same goal: To earn them their rightfully deserved compensation.
Are you a utility worker who was assigned to restore service in Lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks? If so, contact us today. One of our Zadroga Act lawyers is ready to hear your story and to determine if you are eligible to receive benefits from the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and/or the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCH). Please call us at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-353-4907), or visit our website for a live chat.
Your help went above and beyond in restoring utility systems after 9/11. Let us help you.
Posted under: First Responders