How the Worst Day for American Firefighters Led to Safety Changes

By | September 11, 2018

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The names of all 343 firefighters from the New York Fire lost in the September 11 are read out, followed by a prayer before the climb. (Photo by Shirley Kwok/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Seventeen years ago, on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the career of firefighting underwent a dramatic and unexpected shift. When two hijacked domestic passenger planes struck the Twin Towers in New York City at nearly the same time as another struck the Pentagon Building in Washington D.C. and a fourth crashed before it reached its intended target, the nation under attack called on firefighters. 

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Firefighting…An Old Profession

Since man harnessed fire, there has been a need for firefighters. In the United States, Benjamin Franklin is credited with starting the volunteer fire service even before the country officially came into existence. Shortly after that, Boston became the first city with a full-fledged fire department. When the terrorist attacks of September 11 occurred in 2001, New York City boasted the country’s largest fire department. In fact, the FDNY was the second largest fire department in the world, behind Tokyo’s.