The recent ricin discoveries are grievous reminders that America’s fire and emergency medical personnel may be called upon to participate in similar or identical response and recovery efforts. This possibility should cause a reexamination of preparedness by the emergency services for chemical and biological incidents.
In order to ensure the critical infrastructure protection (CIP) of engaged first response organizations, specialists at the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the Emergency Management and Response-Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) offer the following questions for consideration by department chief officers:
- Has the organization thoroughly considered, planned, and rehearsed how it would respond?
- Does the department have the necessary response and recovery equipment?
- Has the organization conducted the appropriate training in entry and decontamination?
- Has the department participated in joint agency exercises for these events?
- Does the organization need assistance from external sources that can be fixed in a mutual aid agreement?
- Has the department efficiently coordinated with its stakeholders for these incidents?
- Do organization plans include procedures to develop an Incident Command Team and, when necessary, a Unified Command Team?
- Does the department have measures to protect internal critical infrastructure during response and recovery operations?
For additional suggestions or assistance, contact Mr. Wayne Yoder, USFA HAZMAT specialist, at 301-447-1090, or at [email protected].