Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead), fellow Majority lawmakers and Suffolk County Presiding Officer William Lindsay joined with 9-11 rescue and recovery workers, labor leaders and health and safety advocates today to demand a continued commitment to fund long-term health monitoring and treatment for Long Island’s first responders. Lawmakers alerted any 9-11 workers that they have until August 14, 2007 to file a claim with the New York Worker’s Compensation Board.
“While rescue and recovery crews worked tirelessly at the WTC site, they were exposed to toxic contaminants that jeopardized their health and safety,” said Abrahams. “We are here today to let them know we have not forgotten their sacrifice.”
According to John Sferazo, Union Iron Worker and President and Co-Founder of Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes, many first responders have become seriously ill and some have even died.
“The Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes is joining with the Officials of Nassau and Suffolk to show our commitment to those residents who gave of themselves,” Sferazo. “We also want to send a strong message to all those first responders that we are concerned about your present afflictions and future symptoms as well.”
Sferazo began working at ground zero on the morning of September 12th before sunrise. He helped remove crushed vehicles, worked on search and rescue, burned iron to tower areas of the pile in the effort to search for survivors of the disaster. For more than 30 days he worked at ground zero. Sferazo's breath and lung capacity had deteriorated from the exposure to 9/11 pollutants, as verified by the Mount Sinai Center for Occupations and Environment Medicine. He has been unable to work since August 2004 because of his health impairment. His workers compensation claim was not settled until July 31, 2005.
The Worker’s Compensation Law was amended to protect a workers’ right to file for 9-11-related workers’ compensation if a person becomes sick in the future. Registering now will protect a worker’s right to file for 9-11-related workers’ compensation should a person develop a latent disease in the future.
It is estimated that nearly 31% of all first responders to the World Trade Center disaster were from Long Island. Many don’t realize that the deadline for filing is fast approaching, after which they will not be eligible to file a 9-11-related workers’ compensation claim.
"On that horrific day of September 11, 2001, these men and women didn't ask any questions; they just responded to this major disaster,” Presiding Officer Lindsay said. “Now that they are getting becoming ill as a result of their action, we can't forget them!"
Carmen Calderon, Occupational Safety and Health Specialist for the New York Council of Occupational Safety and Health, said, “It’s imperative that eligible workers file before the August 14 deadline. This is the only way to get the protection they deserve, for now, and for anything that may arise in the future.”
Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes
P.O. Box 20100
Huntington Station, N.Y. 11746
WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program
In Suffolk County
Stony Brook University Medical Center
World Trade Center Monitoring and Treatment program
Long Island Clinical Center
3001 Expressway Drive North, Suite 200A, Islandia, NY 11749
In Nassau County
WTC Monitoring and Treatment Program
NUMC, 2201 Hempstead Turnpike, Box 36
East Meadow, NY 11554
Or to download Worker’s Comp forms visit: