Weapons of mass destruction
Volume 25, No. 1
"Unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013."
Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism1
Could it be sooner?? This bold statement was made by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. Recently this year the Commission developed the WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2009. The act outlines many key points that must be addressed:
- Enhanced biosecurity measures in U.S. laboratories, designed toimprove safety and security without impeding science
- Effective and timely distribution of medical countermeasures during emergencies, which can potentially blunt the impact of an attack and thwart the terrorists' objectives, as well as generate positive outcomes for public health overall
- International measures that contribute to effective cooperation on the shared,global biological threat
- Reforms that enhance intelligence capabilities in areas related to WMD
- And especially citizen engagement, because a well-informed and mobilized citizenry has long been one of the United States' greatest resources.2
It has also been stated by Commission leaders that a biological attack is greater than the threat of a nuclear attack because of the simplicity of the offending substance. This basically assumes that because of the inability of terrorist groups and individuals to obtain the effective nuclear material and safely construct the fissionable device (they do not mention "dirty bombs" directly),that the event of an attack of this style is lower than a biological (or chemical) device.
It must also be noted in testimony that Sen. Sam Nunn stated, "The risk of a nuclear weapon being used today is growing, not receding." Still the 'B' and 'C' of NBC still seem the most plausible. We have real risk here and this cannot be dismissed.
Making a broad assumption about the real risk of a terrorist attack (and this would include an attack on a facility using, storing or manufacturing nuclear, biological or chemical materials) being inevitable, are emergency responders keeping up to date on the security and training necessary to prevent or combat a real attack?How about some free web based training that is accessible at any time? There are also some management courses for supervisors related to WMD.? Texas A&M University based in College Station, TX,may have some of the "required" training responders may be looking for and everything is totally free of charge.
Some of the offerings include subjects in "Awareness" and in various "WMD"topics. There is even a four-hour general awareness for first responders that works well with Basic EMT coursework but is suitable for all levels of training. (See: Terrorism Awareness for Emergency First Responders - AWR-160).In the WMD section, there are multiple offerings covering different biological toxins including anthrax, nerve agents, and even botulism. For management personnel (and line officers)there is also an IMS/Unified Command class under MGT-101 - *NEW* WMD Incident Management/Unified Command Concepts (Course # WMD006a). "One stop shopping" I call it, and this is all about no fee courses on the web! Most are available for approved and required CMEs. Each course prints out a certificate (suitable for framing) of completion.
The set-up is simple. Go to http://www.teexwmdcampus.com, fill out the simple forms and your e-mail address, and go for it.? Scope out all of the available offerings and see what is best for you or your crews. I have been using this course work in my instruction for some time and it is top shelf. Did I mention that it is also free?
1.? Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. http://www.preventwmd.gov/
2.? WMDPrevention and Preparedness Act of 2009