Updated: Thursday, 08 Sep 2011, 7:31 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 08 Sep 2011, 7:31 PM EDT
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - From increased security checks at airports to restricted parking near federal buildings or barricades in front of military installations changes made since 9/11 have affected us all.
But for first responders in Hampton Roads and across the nation, the 9/11 attacks continue to directly impact the way they do business every time they leave on an emergency call.
With all its bridges and tunnels, Hampton Roads is a target rich environment for terrorists. Following the attacks of September 11, the Virginia Department of Transportation intensified monitoring of all activities in and around these structures.
September 11, 2011 will be no different, according to VDOT.
The city of Norfolk will be holding a "Day of Remembrance" ceremony at Nauticus and Towne Point Park on Sunday.
Bob Batcher, a spokesman for the city, said appropriate security will be in place as with any other event downtown.
"It is one of the things that's day to day. It's not just September 11," Batcher added.
But for Norfolk Firefighters and first responders everywhere, day to day is no longer routine.
"It's like we're running a race. Ah, and we can't afford to lose the race, but there's no finish line," Norfolk Fire Chief Jeffrey Wise said.
When responding to an industrial accident that produced an ammonia leak at a local plant last April, emergency crews had to concern themselves with more than containing the leak and treating the injured.
"The initial responders did their very best to rule out whether there could have been something more to it than just an accident," Wise said. "We're constantly aware of the possibility that this is an event where someone is trying to harm a large number of Americans."
Despite all their training and all their special equipment, if terrorist do launch an attack in Hampton Roads, emergency crews have limited options.
"We're either going to try to ah, mitigate the event quickly. Or we're just really looking to get people out of harm's way," Wise added.
9/11 has put a strain on city finances as well.
Outfitting police and fire to deal with so many different kinds of threats gets expensive.
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