Joan Wilder: Journalist, Writer, Editor

Attack on America yesterday

From giving blood locally to offering professional assistance on site, Boston-area doctors, firefighters, blood donors and others have found ways to assist victims in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in New York.

Hundreds of people have given blood or headed to New York to volunteer since two planes crashed into the World Trade Center yesterday.

Hull Fire Chief Nick Russo planned to drive to New York City last night as part of a support effort coordinated by the Catastrophic Incidence Response Team of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Russo said he expected to make the trip with four or five other area fire chiefs.

The Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts is working with the state fire marshal and the state Fire Services Department to develop a list of firefighters who can travel to New York or elsewhere, if needed.

Bob McCarthy, president of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, said task forces are being formed, though none have been officially deployed yet.

Abington Fire Chief Malcolm Whiting said firefighters have signed up for commitments of two days, one week or two weeks.

McCarthy said some of the organization’s members are on federal search and rescue teams, one of which left from Beverly for New York by bus yesterday.

Several doctors and nurses from Boston Medical Center went to New York City to help out, said hospital spokesman Steve McGettrick.

One local doctor barely had to travel at all to lend a hand.

Timothy Babineau, the chief of surgery at Quincy Medical Center, was in New York with a group of surgeons taking a review course for a recertification exam.

Locally, hundreds of people have given blood.

Some waited for more than three hours yesterday at the blood services center in Dedham, said spokeswoman Stephanie Millian.

Because of the heavy volume of blood donors, the Red Cross is asking people to be patient and wait at least two days and up to a week before calling to donate blood, Millian said.

The Red Cross number at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE will give the length of the wait at certain places.

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