The New York Task Force has seen a lot—it has worked to save people at Ground Zero after 9/11, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and now in Port-Au-Prince after last week's earthquake. For these seasoned rescuers, the experience of saving people from disaster doesn't change that much from incident to incident—or, at least, it didn't. Despite their experience, for some, the sheer scale of destruction in Haiti stands out.
“At least in 9/11, you had a place to go to get away from the hole,” one firefighter tells the New York Times. “This is like 9/11 on the whole island of Manhattan. How are they going to come back after this? None of this is save-able." But the specifics of the disaster are of little consequence when it comes to digging out victims. "No matter the cause, our training kicks in,” one New York City police detective said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s manmade or natural. That’s not what it’s about for us.” And their training has served them well—the team pulled four survivors from the rubble today.