We propose to fulfill critical needs in preventing and responding to both natural and man-made disasters. Lack of Training: It is clear that utilities, especially nuclear generation facilities, are prime terrorist targets. We want to provide the critical workers in potential targeted utility facilities training that will prepare them a) to react quickly;b) to interface with the emergency response/incident command systems;c) to prevent the release of hazardous materials during normal operations;and d) to limit damage to the utility, its infrastructure and to protect themselves, their fellow workers, and the general public. It is also important that UWUA workers who will respond to emergencies of national significance such as the World Trade Center attack, be prepared to protect themselves from uncharacterized hazards. History has shown us how important this type of training is. John Moran, a consultant for the NIEHS WETP, found an """"""""unacceptable"""""""" level of occupational hazards for workers participating in the rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero, citing 7,160 injuries in the first month after the terrorist attack. In his 25 years of experience, he said, """"""""This is the most hazardous site I have ever been on."""""""" (3) The World Trade Center (WTC) building collapse offers a prime example of how combined exposures to chemicals can have a synergistic effect on cleanup and recovery workers'health. Occupational medicine physician Steve Markowitz, of Queens College, observed that the combined effect of the very alkaline concrete dust and fiberglass may have caused especially strong irritation ofthe respiratory tract among World Trade Center cleanup and recovery workers (4, 5). His observation was confirmed by Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers, who found that first responders who were exposed to caustic dust and toxic pollutants following the 2001 WTC terrorist attacks suffer from asthma at more than twice the rate of the general U.S. population. As many as 8 percent (compared to 4% of the general population) of the workers and volunteers who engaged in rescue and recovery essential service restoration and clean-up efforts in the wake of 9/11 reported experiencing post-9/11 asthma attacks or episodes, with these rates remaining twice as high eight years later when compared to people not exposed to the toxic dust (6). Hundreds of UWUA workers responded to the WTC catastrophe. They were first responders who shut down electric, gas and water flows to the destroyed buildings. They then worked tirelessly to restore power and other utilities to Wall Street, deemed a national priority both to stimulate the economy and to symbolize our national resilience. In an informal survey of UWUA Local 1-2 in New York City, nearly all the workers (87%) who responded to the disaster felt they were ill-prepared to deal with the hazards they were confronted with, especially the occupational exposures. The only workers who had any sense of preparedness were those who had received emergency response training through volunteer fire departments, volunteer EMT's, or from previous employment in hazardous industries.

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Utility Workers Union of America
United States
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