New York (CNSNews.com) - Hospitals in New York City, along with New Jersey and as far away as Stamford, Conn., and Philadelphia, have been placed on alert to treat the injured from Tuesday's devastating attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
All of New York City's hospitals are providing triage for injured who have been brought in or have walked in, officials said Tuesday.
New York University Hospital in Lower Manhattan reported treating over 300 people with various injuries in a makeshift emergency room after the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed after hijacked jetliners crashed into the buildings.
Bellevue Hospital, New York City's largest hospital, reported two people were dead on arrival and more than 250 people have been treated for injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to serious brain injuries.
At St. Vincent's Hospital, officials reported that 297 had been treated as of 5:00 p.m. Three people were confirmed dead, including one New York City firefighter, and 42 of the injured were rescue workers.
Plumes of smoke billowed over the lower section of Manhattan as the sun set Tuesday, with ash and debris spread over a wide area.
People as far north as Midtown Manhattan and in several sections of Brooklyn have been asked to wear surgical masks to protect their lungs from dust and ash resulting from the catastrophe.
The exact number of dead and injured may not be known for at least a week. The debris of the two 110-story World Trade Center towers, along with the collapse of the 47 story World Trade Building #7, have left a pile of debris over 15 stories high.
Medical workers cannot operate in "Ground Zero" because of the continuing fires and the threat of further building collapses in the area.
The New York Blood Center is reporting it is "in desperate need of blood," and officials are asking everyone to donate.
At one location, New Yorkers answered the call, with people standing in lines with a five-hour wait to donate blood. Officials said there is a serious shortage of Type O-Negative blood at this time.
Across the river in New Jersey, emergency medical triage facilities have been set up in Jersey City, Hoboken, and Newark.
Officials at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, directly across the harbor from the World Trade Center, reported that more than 1,500 people have been treated, and buses were taking the injured from New York to New Jersey.
WTIC-TV in Hartford reported two medical helicopters have landed at a Stamford, Conn.-area hospital with injured from New York City.
In Philadelphia, all area hospitals have been placed on "level one preparedness," and medical evacuation helicopters were standing by to travel to both Washington and New York City to treat the more seriously injured, if necessary.
Area schools are also affected. New York City schools immediately imposed a "lockdown" of all schools when the tragedy first occurred. Children were allowed to leave only when a parent came for them.
Students are being bused home, but are only being dropped off if a parent takes them from the bus stop.
Suburban schools also face a similar situation. Due to the number of parents who work in New York City, schools in the metropolitan suburbs will not allow students to leave unless a parent comes for them. Many area schools plan to be closed Wednesday.