SARASOTA- 18 years after 9-11 Sarasota County continues to remember the lives lost and continues to be inspired by the heroes that rushed to help. Sarasota County held a moment of silence across every department as it remembered those lost on 9-11.

“I think in the days right after 9/11 the tragedy and being so raw,” Emergency Services Director Rich Collins said. “But as time moves on, I think it’s really important that we look at what was incredible about humanity that day and in the following days.”

Sarasota County Fire chief Michael Regnier says the memory of 9-11 is felt every day in the fire service.

“We were all obviously devastated,” Chief Regnier said. “What do you do with that, that happened and how do you come out of that, one of the things as the fire service and law enforcement, we took the opportunity to improve our abilities.”

Chief Regnier says over the past 18 years they’ve updated their communications equipment and put plans in place to help departments in need.

“It doesn’t have to be a terrorist attack,” Chief Regnier said. “It could be a hurricane, it could be a tornado in the Midwest, it could be all of those things, we need to have good communication, good training, people that you can count on to send help and be sure that that help arrives.”

There has also been a focus on the physical and mental health of first responders.

“We want to make sure that the firefighters here today when they are exposed to chemicals on site of different happenings of tragedy that those protections are in place so they don’t come down with cancers,” Chief Regnier said. “They don’t have mental illnesses that they need to work through.”

Chief Regnier says remembering the tragedy every year continues to inspire change and generations of fire fighters and law enforcement officers.