Chemical Attack on Public Transport – A Likely Scenario | Domestic Preparedness Photo: ©iStock.com/Ed-Ni-Photo
Preparedness

Chemical Attack on Public Transport – A Likely Scenario

by Zamawang Almemar -

Some experts say that a chemical attack plot on Western public transportation systems such as this one is inevitable: It is 0753 on a Tuesday morning at the busy red line subway station in Washington, D.C. The Islamic State group (IS) just claimed responsibility for a chemical attack that took place there by three IS supporters (two males and one female) about half past the hour. The Metrorail transportation staff and first responders are rushing to care for the victims of what seems to be a sulfur mustard attack.

 
Resilience

Critical Infrastructure Partnerships – Prioritizing Assets

by Christopher Ryan -

A key early step for critical infrastructure protection (CIP) programs is to identify and prioritize the most important facilities and assets for maintaining community safety, normalcy, and quality of life. Within single jurisdictions, CIP program managers typically choose prioritization criteria to determine the most critical assets. However, developing customized prioritization criteria for multiple, closely interconnected jurisdictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) – where public safety authority is decentralized – recently proved much more challenging. Here is how they overcame this challenge.

Preparedness

Staying “PRIMED” for a Radiation Event

by Grant Coffey -

Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) events are low in frequency, but high in consequence, requiring a frequent and more targeted emphasis on the way that responders train and learn. Radiation is often not well understood. It can be intimidating for both the public and for first responders. Radiation cannot be seen, smelled, or heard. Yet, risk is relatively easy to mitigate when responders have been adequately trained and equipped.

Commentary

Unmanned Aircraft Systems – On the Way to the Jetsons’ Era

by Charles J. Guddemi -

Debuting in 1962, “The Jetsons” depicted the family of the future, with people movers, tube travel, vehicles that folded up into brief cases for parking purposes, home computers, internet, microwave ovens, CT x-ray for medical purposes, cellphones, and speed limits of up to 2,500 miles per hour. Fast-forward to today, as roadways become more congested, one logical alternative is to go up. Unmanned aircraft systems bring the nation a step closer to the Jetson way of life.

Commentary

Drones – Both a Force Multiplier & Headache

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Until the federal government decides how to best secure the skies from unmanned aerial systems (UAS), first responders, emergency managers, and public safety professionals will have a big problem to deal with. However, in light of the recent hurricanes and wildfires, this technology is also a real game changer for search and rescue and other unforeseen positive uses. Efforts are being made, but more regulation, enforcement, and concepts of operation are still needed to define this transformative technology.

Preparedness

Prioritizing Life Safety While Addressing Classroom Security

by Lori Greene -

As school districts across the country provide an effective level of security within budgetary constraints, dozens of new retrofit security devices are being marketed to enhance the safety and security of students and teachers. Although the price tag for some of these security methods may be attractive, there are also significant life-safety implications to consider.

Commentary

Education – The Ultimate Personal Protective Equipment

by Catherine L. Weinmann -

A firefighter would not run into a burning building without turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatus. A paramedic would not treat and transport a patient without proper body substance isolation precautions. A hazardous materials technician would not attempt to contain a highly toxic chemical spill without donning a Level A protective suit. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is standard issue for these professions. Responding to a disaster without sufficient education on the type of incident, the warning signs, the tools available, and even themselves would be like running into one of the above scenarios without the proper level of PPE.

Healthcare

Implications of the Opioid Crisis During Disaster Response

by Dawn Thomas -

During disaster response, individuals suffering from opioid addiction have both similar and unique needs as compared to those suffering from other types of illness. Emergency responders need the resources to manage opioid-addicted victims of a disaster, and response teams must be appropriately staffed to meet the physical and behavioral health needs of addiction. Response personnel must coordinate closely with local public health officials and other addiction stakeholders to facilitate access to local support services

Resilience

Surviving the First Disaster Deployment

by Arthur Samaras -

When runners compete in their first marathon or triathlon, they often set goals such as, “I hope to break four hours,” or “I want to beat my brother’s time.” However, a different mindset should be taken for a first attempt at an endurance event. Rather than placing benchmarks or targets, the goal should be to simply finish the first event. This same advice applies to a first-time disaster deployment.

Updates

Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders

The "Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders" provides unified, scientific, evidence-based recommendations to first responders so they can protect themselves when the presence of fentanyl is suspected during the course of their daily activities such as responding to overdose calls and conducting traffic stops, arrests, and searches.

Officials Detail DoD Support During Unprecedented Hurricane Season

Defense Department officials told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee how the Department of Defense (DoD) has supported federal, state, and local officials in responding to the unprecedented series of hurricanes in 2017. DoD’s main support was to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the department also supported other federal agencies such as the departments of Health and Human Services, Energy, and Transportation.

Biodefense Evolving in the 21st Century

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) hosted its BARDA Industry Day 2017 on 7-8 November 2017 in Washington, D.C., featuring government and industry experts, who shared their perspectives on medical countermeasures for evolving biodefense threats. One of these experts was the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, M.D.

New Turnout Ensemble Aims to Reduce Firefighter Cancer Risk

A new suite of personal protective equipment may provide additional protection for firefighters from exposure to carcinogenic vapors and particulate matter at incident sites. The Smoke and Particulate Resistant Turnout Ensemble, developed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate in partnership with the North Carolina State University Textile Protection and Comfort Center is now available for purchase from LION First Responder PPE Inc.

EPA Publishes Companion Documents to Protective Action Guide Manual

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published two companion documents to the EPA’s Protective Action Guide (PAG) Manual that will help emergency responders prepare public communication materials prior to and during a radiological emergency. These communication materials are based on the safety measures in the PAG Manual, and are designed to be used in all types of radiological emergencies.