"NEW YORK (AP) — Retiree Gene O'Brien hurried to the World Trade Center site
after Sept. 11, 2001, as a volunteer helping to shuttle supplies to police and
fire workers. Some days, his only ID to get into the disaster site was a tattoo
on his forearm. 'A couple times I showed them my Marine tattoo, and they said go
ahead,' recalled O'Brien, adding that he and other volunteers also came up with
their own makeshift identification cards. 'We didn't forge anything, we just
made them up with our own pictures and at one point we copied a UPC code off a
Pepsi can and they were as good as gold,' said the Scarsdale resident. It might
not be so easy the next time disaster strikes. In an effort to provide better
control and coordination, the federal government is launching an ambitious ID
program for rescue workers to keep everyday people from swarming to a disaster
scene. A prototype of the new first responder identification card is already
being issued to fire and police personnel in the Washington, D.C., area."
This is actually a good idea for a number of reasons. One is that a terrorist could slip into a disaster and set off another attack to harm the rescue effort. Two is that there are a number of people who want to do something to help, want so much to do so that they don't think about what they can or should do and they could hurt themselves. If there were a secondary attack, or a further breakdown of the situation during rescue knowing who and was on scene would be mandatory to rescue everyone. I only hope that they don't make it so only police and fire can get a pass. I would suggest opening it to the public, tell them they will have to get trained and get background checks, but they can get passes. There should be different levels to reflect how much access a person should be given.