According to the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) classification of hazards, each of the individual types of agents can result in various types of injuries at different periods depending on the time they have been released (CBRNE Task Force Statement, 2008). Both chemical and biological agents result in injuries that fundamentally affect human beings via internal cellular pathways (CBRNE Task Force Statement, 2008). Unlike biological agents, which are transmitted through infection, chemical agents do not have any infectious attributes (CBRNE Task Force Statement, 2008). However, usually, the consequences of noxious chemical agents, especially pulmonary toxins such as nerve gas, can be seen and experienced instantly (CBRNE Task Force Statement, 2008).
A person affected by pathogens is most unlikely to develop symptoms than can be clinically diagnosed until after a day or even weeks of the infection’s setting in (Liudvikas and Darling, 2011). However, a person subjected to biological toxins can show symptoms within a few hours of exposure (Liudvikas and Darling, 2011). Biological agents do not survive very long inside the hosts and on detection, even the most potent biological warfare agents, such as anthrax can be effectively contained (Liudvikas and Darling, 2011). The problem of confining the effluent from decontamination is more important in a person affected by chemical agents than one affected with biological agents, as biological toxins and pathogens can be modified or denatured via water treatment facilities (Liudvikas and Darling, 2011). While in a biological warfare victim triage is for recovering from trauma, in a chemical warfare victim, the triage is for decontamination, treatment, and evacuation (Liudvikas and Darling, 2011) (Gum, and Darling, 2011). Thus, naturally, health practitioners should be prepared in disaster management techniques to deal with incidents of chemical and biological warfare.
Discuss how a clearer system of unified command could have helped solve some of the problems related to exposures in past terrorist events.
The nerve agent sarin was intentionally used in a subway in Tokyo in 1995 that resulted in 12 deaths and more than 5000 injuries. It has been shown that the more patients would have benefited or have been saved if an endotracheal tube or a laryngeal mask airway was permissible in the Japanese law. Good management requires the insight to use special procedures during disaster (Okumuram et al., 1998). Similarly, that the local hospitals in Tokyo were beleaguered and stressed with casualties after the sarin attack, with many of those affected transporting themselves into hospitals, is indicative of the fact that there were no provisions for the management of such a terrorist attack (Gum, and Darling, 2011). Moreover, as the affected were not duly decontaminated, even the health care professionals were exposed to the sarin vapors that emanated from the patient’s clothing (Gum, and Darling, 2011).
How do you think the psychological effects of a terrorist-generated disaster impact the response? Give reasons for your response.
This paper perceives that a terrorist attack is always a shock, irrespective of the fact that the disaster management teams are prepared to deal with it. A forewarning might serve to mitigate the shock, but the consequences take toll on the mind. It is this paper’s firm conviction that as human beings treat death and the loss of their kind with reverence, a mass death and destruction episode naturally affects the human psyche. While some terrorist outfits might be immune to this feeling, most of the human kind is still sensitive to this. The immediate response of the body, such as to flee from the source of danger, might be thwarted by the psychological impacts of witnessing a terrorist attack (Barrett and Goure, 2009). However, a high degree of preparedness can help mitigate the psychological effects during and in the recovery from a terrorist attack (Drabek, 1986).
Auf der Heide states that, “some evidence suggests that many of the disaster response problems that were present in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s are still seen in some form in the ’80s.” Based on information in the more recently published course materials, evaluate whether this statement applies to response in the ’90s and ’00s.
The disaster response problems in the past decades are not that significant in the recent ones. The comparison of the morbidity and mortality statistics between the past and recent disasters evince this. This paper presents the example of two hurricane disasters in the United states to illustrate this theory. In a hurricane that struck the Gulf Cost of Texas in 1900, 6000 people were killed, and 5000 were injured (Novick and Marr, 2003). However, in contrast, Hurricane Andrew that struck Florida in 1992 the numbers of deaths were less than two dozen (Novick and Marr, 2003). This is owing to the fact that the hurricane could be predicted with the technological advancements over the years (Novick and Marr, 2003). Thus, people could be warned and evacuated (Novick and Marr, 2003).
The prevention of loss by terrorist attacks is far more difficult than the natural disasters due the dependency on the detection of conspiracies. For example, in 1993 the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York was bombed using a vehicle bomb near the building with the intention of toppling the building (Tierney, 2005). The result was enhanced security measures, but when this was unsuccessful, the towers were brought down by crashing hijacked airplanes into them (Tierney, 2005). Nevertheless, even in disasters caused by terrorist attacks, development of technology and management techniques has mitigated the loss of lives and the rate of injuries.
Barrett, J. Michael and Goure, Daniel. Chemical & Biological Threats: Surveillance as the First Line of Defense. Virginia: Lexington Institute, 2009.
CBRNE Task Force Statement. “The Provision of Care for Victims of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Releases: The Position of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine”. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 23, no. 1 (2008): pp. 95–96.
Drabek, Thomas E. Human System Responses to Disaster. New York: Springer-Verlag (1986). pp. 21.
Gum, Robert M and Darling, Robert G. “CBRNE Task-Chemical Warfare Mass Casualty Management”. (2011). Accessed on 29th December 2011, in http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/831375-overview#aw2aab6b5.
Jagminas, Liudvikas and Darling, Robert G. “CBRNE Task-Biological Warfare Mass Casualty Management”. (2011). Accessed on 29th December 2011, in http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/831529-overview#aw2aab6b6.
Novick, Lloyd F. and Marr, John S.: Public health issues in disaster preparedness : focus on bioterrorism. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers (2003), p.5.
Okumuram, Tetsu; Uzukmi, Kouichiros; Fukudam, Kohama; Himatsum, Shinichiis , and Inoharam, Shigeakhi: “The Tokyo Subway Sarin Attack: Disaster Management, Part 1: Community Emergency Response”. Academic Emergency Medicine, 5, no. 6, (1998): 613–618.
Tierney, Kathleen: “The 9/11 Commission and Disaster Management: Little Depth, Less Context, Not Much Guidance”. Contemporary Sociology, 34, no. 2 (2005): pp.115–120.