A word once associated with “the outside world,” terrorism has blasted its way into our country and the American psyche. It has breached our sense of security and exposed our vulnerability, forcing the Federal Government and the country`s emergency services to take a long, hard look at what would happen if an act of terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were to occur in Anytown, USA. Such weapons would include biological, nuclear, incendiary, chemical, and explosives (sometimes referred to as “BNICE”). The fact is that no city or village–no matter how remote or small–is exempt from a terrorist event.

“The violence of terrorism has come home to the United States. Once the incidental unfortunate occurrence in some foreign land, today it is a major preoccupation of Americans,” observes Norman Glover, chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Working Group on the Mitigation of the Effects of Terrorist Violence.1

The potential for terrorist events is omnipresent, and an attack can be staged in many scenarios. Many of these attacks may not be easy to recognize at first. These acts may be committed by organizations holding various political views or by individuals working alone or in small groups. “There appears to be a growing problem of disaffected loners who cut themselves off from all groups. An increased effort to monitor anti-government groups is unlikely to identify these loners, who may pose the greatest threat, ” according to the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, D.C.2

Following is a scant sampling of the types of terrorist-related events emergency responders have encountered or reported during 1997.

The County of Los Angeles (CA) Fire Department responded to a 911 call reporting a woman over the side of a 300-foot coastal cliff on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. That they might find themselves involved in a terrorist-related incident was the farthest thing from the responders` minds. As the incident unfolded, however, a seemingly routine call evolved into a very hazardous situation. A beverage cooler, an ordinary beach accessory, sitting on the rocks near the victim turned out to be a handmade bomb that had to be detonated by the County Sheriff`s bomb squad. Before its fuse was noticed, however, a firefighter had moved the bomb/cooler to give medical personnel room to treat the victim. Adding to the potential for danger, emergency room personnel found a loaded derringer pistol, in the cocked position, in the back pocket of the victim`s jeans when they were removed to check for hidden wounds. Whether the victim was associated with any terrorist organization was not ascertained, but she reportedly threatened to blow up a section of the hospital because she was held there against her will during treatment.3

Two potential suicide bombers with Mideast terrorist connections were thwarted in their mission to terrorize the Atlantic Avenue subway and Long Island Rail Road stations in New York City. An accomplice had revealed their plans to the police, who took the would-be bombers into custody in an explosives-laden Brooklyn apartment before they could carry out the attack. “Local and federal law enforcement sources said the equipment found in the apartment … including pipe bombs, detonators and a body harness, was clearly designed for suicide bombers ….”4

Four potentially explosive devices were found in a school in Prince George`s County, Maryland. The school has been the site of 85 bomb scares.5

Animal rights activists in Sandy, Utah, blew up a plant that produced feed for mink farms. [5]

In Robesville, Georgia, 16 bombs were found in the home of a suspect wanted for theft. [5]


The spiraling potential for overt and covert terrorist attacks within our country`s borders has focused attention on the responders who will be first on the scene and issues such as the following: What actions should first responders take on arrival and until specialized regional/national teams that are capable of providing resources and support to the local authorities arrive? How can they avoid becoming victims themselves? How can they best protect civilians on the scene and in adjacent areas? What resources should they summon? What training should they have? How should this training be provided? What equipment should local fire departments have? What equipment and training should neighboring departments–especially those that supply mutual aid–have?

“Terrorism U is a new part of the fire service that we all had better prepare for U. This is not an area in which we can say, `Well, I know about large-diameter hose or aerial ladders.` We have an awful lot to learn. It`s not a matter of what, where, or who–but when .U It`s going to happen. Emergency responders must accept that.” This was the warning sounded by Ray Downey, Sr., battalion chief, chief of rescue operations of the City of New York (NY) Fire Department (FDNY), at Fire Engineering`s 1997 Fire Department Instructors Conference. [5]

Compounding the hazards inherent in responding to a scene involving a terrorist attack is the danger of being exposed to a second armed device planted there to specifically harm or kill responding emergency personnel. In one such incident “two powerful explosions rocked the outside of a suburban Atlanta office building that housed an abortion clinic” on January 16, 1997. The first bomb went off at about 9:30 a.m. EST; the second about 10:30 a.m. No injuries were reported in the first blast. The second bomb was hidden in a garbage container behind a fence in the corner of the building`s parking lot. The force of the blast knocked people to the ground and injured six people, including three federal law enforcement agents. Federal investigators said that even though the structure involved housed an abortion clinic, they were “not ruling out the possibility of domestic terrorism unrelated to clinic violence.”6

Another incident involved a pipe bomb covered with nails that exploded in a crowded Atlanta gay bar in late February 1997, injuring several people. A second pipe bomb was found outside the bar and was later detonated by police. “Atlanta police said this bombing, the fourth to strike the city in seven months, has similarities to a January double-bombing at an Atlanta abortion clinic and the deadly July attack at the Olympic Games.”7

FDNY`s Downey points out that this was the first time in 20 years that secondary devices have been used in this country. The threat to responders is so real in fact that the video Surviving the Secondary Devices, the Rules Have Changed, developed by FEMA in cooperation with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, has been distributed to some public safety officials.

“We cannot be complacent. Terrorism is a dynamic, moving target. Our defenses and deterrence mechanisms must be aggressive and flexible,” warns Ambassador Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., a U.S. coordinator for counterterrorism.8

American civilians also are concerned about terrorism. “One of the greatest fears among Americans is nuclear terrorism, according to a national survey of 800 registered voters conducted recently for the Committee on Nuclear Policy.” Seventy-six percent of those polled believe it`s likely that the U.S. could be attacked by terrorist troops who smuggle nuclear bombs into the country.9


The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995 vividly brought to national attention the need for a counterterrorism responder offensive. This horrific event raised some serious questions concerning responder safety in attacks that might include WMD.

“If nuclear agents were used in Oklahoma City, we would have had many dead first responders,” says Gary Marrs, chief of the Oklahoma City (OK) Fire Department, who coordinated the Murrah Building Bombing rescue operation. “First responders,” he stresses, “must be trained to recognize when an incident might involve terrorism and extraordinary threats to their safety and that of the public. They must have equipment for detecting nuclear, biological, and chemical agents. My fear is that the next attack may involve a chemical or other substance and that nothing will be in place to help that community–that community will not be prepared.”

“Although the military and federal agencies` teams are well designed, the truth is that the federal government cannot get them to town fast enough to do everything,” cautions John Eversole, deputy district chief and coordinator of hazardous materials for the Chicago (IL) Fire Department. “First responders will have to take the actions that will minimize death. They must hold the pieces together until help arrives–the best scenario may be hours; it could be days. We`re kidding ourselves if we think the federal government will be there in a timely fashion.”

According to one report, the Marine Corps` Chemical Biological Incidence Response Team and the Army`s Technical Escort Unit, the armed forces rapid response teams that are on 24-hour alert to help handle disasters at home or abroad, “would be stretched thin in the event of a major disaster.”10

“My biggest fear is that firefighters will take actions and jeopardize themselves,” says Ray Kiernan, fire commissioner of New Rochelle, New York. “We need training and equipment–people in proper attire who can get into and out of an area with minimum exposure. Every department should be able to take action.” But all this takes money. “The cities in the Northeast are so strapped financially that they are lucky to have hose on their trucks–much less a suit,” Kiernan says.


In June 1995, following the Oklahoma City Bombing, President Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive-39 (PDD-39). The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), designated to represent law enforcement, was named the lead agency for crisis-management activities and was made responsible for prevention, investigation, and apprehension of the individuals involved in such acts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), designated to represent the fire service, was named the lead federal agency for “consequence management activities to save lives and property after the occurrence of such an incident [search, rescue, incident mitigation].”11

In November 1995, FEMA and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) sponsored “The First Worldwide Conference on Strengthening the Fire and Emergency Response to Terrorism.” Held at the FEMA Special Facility in Berryville, Virginia, the event was attended by fire and emergency responders from around the world. Conference attendees agreed that the federal government should commit resources to providing specialized training for local and state first responders–firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and law enforcement personnel. [11]

In March 1996, Marrs and the then IAFC President Lamont Ewell testified before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations regarding WMD. They told the committee, including Senators Sam Nunn (GA) and Richard Lugar (IN), that this country`s fire and emergency services were not prepared for a terrorist event. Their major concern was that first responders be trained and equipped to handle the first minutes, hours, or days preceding the arrival of military and other specialized teams at an incident site involving WMD. Marrs also testified before the House National Security Subcommittee on Military Research and Development panel in February 1997, urging that local rescue workers be given military training in high-tech equipment to respond to chemical and biological attacks.12

Recently, it was reported that the United States is poorly prepared to defend its armed forces from the rising threat of germ-warfare attack and lags even more in protecting Americans at home. In November 1997, an expert defense advisory group urged the Pentagon to sharply step up efforts to provide a stronger “homeland” defense against germ and chemical attacks. “It may take years … to develop … a detector that can quickly discover and identify an agent when it has been released,” defense officials say. [10]

Federal Funding Initiatives

As a result of federal legislation, various initiatives to help prepare first responders for terrorist-related incidents are underway.

The Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996, commonly called the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act, or Nunn-Lugar II, appropriated $23 million to the Department of Defense (DoD) to increase first-responder preparedness against potential acts of chemical or biological terrorism. (The DoD has control of all Nunn-Lugar II monies through October 1, 1999.) There has been some discussion lately about the role the National Guard should have in the training program. A study to explore this matter is underway.

According to James Warrington, program director for domestic preparedness at the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM), the goals are to identify and use existing chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) courses, not to develop new training programs, and to offer assistance to states/local communities after they assess their own needs, not to tell them what to do. The National Fire Academy (NFA) has assisted the CBDCOM.13

Originally, the DoD targeted the top 27 cities by population for this training. The number of cities will be increased to 120 by the year 2002. Six jurisdictions were assessed during 1997.

Funding for the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Program, totaling $48.5 million, has been included in the Fiscal Year (FY) 98 Department of Defense Appropriations Conference Report.14

The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 authorized $5 million for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop a grant program to provide antiterrorism training to firefighters and emergency services personnel. The Attorney General delegated the administration of these duties to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), resulting in the FY1997 Metropolitan Firefighter and Emergency Services National Training Program for First Responders to Terrorist Incidents. First responders in 120 targeted metro jurisdictions will receive specialized first-responder training, a first responder train-the-trainer program, a national conference for first responders, and competitive grant funding to identify innovative first-responder training programs. The IAFC has worked closely with the BJA, FEMA, and the NFA in developing the course materials used to train fire and emergency personnel in these 120 jurisdictions.

Five train-the-trainer sessions were held at the NFA for representatives of the targeted 120 metro jurisdictions and each of the states` fire training academies.

According to Frank Lepage, program manager of the First Responder Training National Program at the BJA, some 6,500 fire and emergency medical responders have received training from the cadre of trainers who had attended the NFA “Train-the-Trainers” program. An additional 22,000 are scheduled for training between now and the end of August 1998. Targeted jurisdictions should contact Community Research Associates [(615) 399-9908] to coordinate training in their metro area.

Four grants were awarded under the 1997 Demonstration Grant Program. The recipients were the City of New York (NY) and the Albuquerque (NM) fire departments and the Los Angeles County (CA) Sheriff`s Department and the Michigan State Police; the latter two agencies conduct emergency training for local firefighting and emergency services personnel throughout their states, explains Le-page. The grant funding is to be used to test, document, and exercise effective first-responder training programs for terrorist incidents and WMD. Grant recipients had to demonstrate that they have innovative first-responder training programs that include more than one ,jurisdiction and that can be replicated by other large metropolitan jurisdictions.

In addition, in FY 1997, $4 million was appropriated to the newly established Hazardous Materials Response Unit (HMRU) within the FBI. The unit`s members (20 to 25 maximum) are responsible for collecting, preserving, and analyzing evidence. The funds are to be used for research and development to assist the haz-mat community to develop nuclear, chemical, environmental, and biological protective gear and equipment. Its operations group will predeploy to special events, known terrorist threat situations, and actual terrorist events. [13]

BJA FY1998 Priorities

Working with FEMA and the NFA, the BJA will offer training for first responders in incident management and tactical decision making. At press time, course materials for these training modules were scheduled to be available in Spring 1998. These courses, which expand on the level and scope of training of the 1997 offerings, will complement sustainment training for first responders and enhance BJA`s Emergency Response to Terrorism Training Program, according to Lepage (see Table 1).

Also, the BJA will give selected state agencies and jurisdictions the opportunity to request no-cost technical assistance to help develop or enhance their existing first-responder training capacities.

The “1998 Conference on Strengthening the Public Safety Response to Terrorism” will be held April 4-7, reports Alan Caldwell, director of government relations, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). It will be funded by the BJA. The IAFC will be the conference managers. Attendance will be by invitation only. The invitation list will include chief law enforcement and fire officers in the 120 BJA jurisdictions, Caldwell adds.

The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act also highlighted the need for training facilities that could provide the environments for the “effective testing, training, and evaluation of government personnel U responsible for responding to the use of chemical and biological weapons in the United States.” [13] At press time, one site, Fort McClellan, Alabama, had been selected as a national training facility for first responders. Others under consideration include the Texas A&M University System and the Nevada Test Site. The Department of Justice, through the BJA, will oversee Fort McClellan training operations.



FEMA provides training grants to states, delivers pertinent training from the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the NFA, and coordinates the delivery of federal counterterrorism training from various federal agencies to state and local emergency responders and managers. Some of the ways in which FEMA does this include the following:

It chairs the Senior Interagency Coordination Group (SICG) on Terrorism, a planning committee created to ensure a coordinated federal approach to dealing with terrorism-related topics. The SICG is comprised of policy level officials from the DoD, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others.

Its training director chairs an interagency committee, the Training Task Group, which is working to make federal counterterrorism training available to state and local audiences.

The EMI offers an integrated management class for terrorism.

FEMA awards grants to the states to assist with terrorism preparedness training for jurisdictions and communities excluded by BJA`s 120 targeted jurisdictions list. Each state was given $50,000 in FY 1997. FEMA also distributed an additional $1.3 million to the states for developing and delivering terrorism training. The states were given broad discretion in how to use these funds.

FEMA is reviewing the Federal Response Plan (FRP) to identify and address deficiencies in capabilities, supplies, and training in light of the terrorist threat. An interagency planning group will analyze the results and report to the President in accordance with PDD-39.

Also, FEMA/USFA has developed A Guide to Funding Alternatives for Fire and Emergency Medical Services Departments, a package that outlines federal grants and introduces local fire departments to the Federal Domestic Assistance Program. It is available to fire departments at no cost.

FEMA is launching an initiative to ensure that the public is properly informed in the event of an incident involving weapons of mass destruction, reports Phil Cogan, FEMA`s deputy director of emergency information. FEMA, EPA, BJA, and HHS are working on this project.


The consensus among pertinent government and fire service agencies is that since chemical agents and certain radioactive materials meet the criteria for hazardous materials (i.e., just about any element, compound, mixture, solution, substance, pollutant, or con-taminant that may pose a hazard to human health or the environment), it makes sense to retain existing EPA plans and training programs and modify them to include incidents involving chemicals and biological agents.

Among the services the EPA makes available to state and local governments are the following:

Coordination of structures, programs, knowledgeable personnel, and equipment that can be applied to terrorist events involving weapons of mass destruction.

An established hazardous substances response program and a radiological response program that may operate independently or in coordination, depending on the incident.

The National Response System (NRS), which includes a national response center, a network of on-scene coordinators (OSCs) and regional response teams, special teams and forces, laboratories, cleanup contract support, and so on.

Monitoring and assessment of the health and environmental impacts of a radiological emergency as well as providing guidance on the protective actions to be taken.

An environmental response team (ERT) and laboratories that provide chemical, biological, and physical treatment and monitoring; contingency planning; and planning for control, restoration, and disposal as well as other services.

A hazardous materials planning structure that involves federal, state, and local participants including state emergency response commissions (SERCs) and local emergency planning committees (LEPCs), which are given technical advice, technical guidance documents, plan review, technical bulletins, training, and grants (through the states).

Free courses presented by its environmental response team for federal, state, and local response personnel and others involved with hazardous materials emergencies. Training covers safety and health and various technical disciplines needed to identify, evaluate, and control hazardous substances and oil that have been or could be released.15

The DOE and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

The DOE will “plug nuclear and radiological training components into existing programs” developed by the Department of Defense.16

Historically, the U.S. DOE and the NRC have provided training to state and local emergency personnel who would assist in a response to an incident/emergency at a DOE- or an NRC-licensed facility. Most recently, the DOE has also provided training to state and local emergency personnel along the major U.S. transportation corridors that carry radiological material shipments.

Both the DOE and NRC provide training to state and local emergency response and radiation health personnel in the following areas: technical assessment of radiological events, protective actions, hazard assessments, consequence assessments, and coordination with federal agencies. These training programs focus on the technical aspects of response to a radiological incident as well as emergency planning, preparedness, and the response process.

The NRC also provides training to state regulatory personnel in basic radiation technology and sampling techniques. This training program includes a radiation protection orientation and covers radiation detection principles, monitoring methods, equipment calibration, and environmental monitoring.

The DOE also provides specialized training programs for first responders (see Table 2).

The HHS17

In 1996, Nunn, Lugar, and Domenici created the first Metropolitan Medical Strike Team (MMST), in Washington, D.C., through the DoD appropriations bill. MMSTs were proposed for each of the 27 large metropolitan jurisdictions. The D.C. team is operational. President Clinton`s budget for FY98 includes DOJ and DoD/Nunn-Lugar II programs but does not have a budgeted provision for a Public Health Service program to further develop and equip MMSTs. The HHS is continuing this program with its own resources.

The MMST is “a highly trained, readily deployable and fully equipped team of medical professionals to support other local personnel in treating the victims of a chemical, biological, or nuclear attack. Team members will receive specialized instruction, including training on self-contained breathing units and hazardous materials decontamination devices. They will be equipped with pharmaceutical supplies to treat exposure to chemical and biological agents and agent-monitoring and protective equipment.”18 In addition, three specialized National Medical Response Teams are being trained as part of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) to supplement local resources–in cooperation with DoD`s specialized assets–should an attack occur or if teams need to be prepositioned in response to a threat. Under the Federal Response Plan, the HHS is the lead federal agency for health and medical services during a presidentially declared disaster. The Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) coordinates the federal health and medical response and recovery activities for the HHS, working with 12 other federal and private sector agencies to provide preventive health, environmental health, and medical and mental health services to victims of large natural or technological disasters in the United States, as well as those who may be victims of a terrorist release of WMD. [17]

The OEP leads the NDMS, which is jointly run by the DoD, Veterans Affairs, the HHS, and FEMA. The NDMS provides for medical services at the scenes of disasters by supplementing local resources, provides transportation for victims, and delivers hospital care away from the disaster site if local facilities are overwhelmed or unable to function. Fifty-nine disaster medical assistance teams (DMATs), managed by the HHS, can provide medical care at disaster sites. Specialized teams provide a variety of services, including burn care and mortuary services, if needed. More than 60 Federal Coordinating Centers (FCCs), managed by the VA and DoD, are located around the United States and track the available beds for care in hospitals that voluntarily participate in the system. [17]


What should constitute first responder counterterrorism training for incidents involving WMD? The answer to this question, of course, depends on many variables, but the words “safety,” “common sense,” and “reasonable” have come up frequently in discussions with our sources. “Departments must determine what works best for them,” says Jeff Dyar, program chairman for EMS at the NFA. “There are no mandates for training levels.”

Obviously, safety is the key for responders in terrorist-related incidents just as it is in all other types of responses, point out many sources. The “common sense” approach entails realistic training, adequate equipment, and coordination among departments and agencies.

“The best thing we can hope for is to increase responders` awareness of what terrorism is and teach them what to look for,” says John Buckman, chief of the German Township (IN) Volunteer Fire Department and former chair of the IAFC`s Volunteer Chief Officers Section. “Every firefighter in the country has to be aware of the potential of entering an environment that can pose catastrophic consequences. Responders must be more cautious in their response modes. They must stop, think, and then act on every call, whether it be a dumpster fire, an auto incident, or a terrorist act,” he stresses.

“We`re approaching scenarios in which first responders could encounter massive hordes of victims coming at them,” observes Robert C. Wiederhold, the NFA`s program chair for haz mat. “Experience has shown that victims who will survive will self-rescue.” Responders must focus on establishing scene control; maintaining awareness of their safety, including any threats posed by being in proximity to the incident scene; and accomplishing effective rescues, he says. “And,” he adds, “they must not overcommit resources to the scene and must keep in mind threats from secondary devices.”

“The real trick,” Eversole of Chicago says, “is to look for some telltale sign that terrorism might be involved when you come up on the incident scene. Then responders must protect themselves, civilians, property, and the environment. They must approach carefully. If they don`t recognize the potential hazards at the very beginning, they will not fare well. They must know what to do and what not to do. If the department has no Level A or B haz mat team, first responders should secure the area, identify the product from a distance, deny entry, and call for special assistance. They should protect the community as best as they can from a reasonable distance.”

The NFA self-study guide is a reasonable approach for smaller rural areas that are not at high risk, says Eversole. Responders all over the country can sit down and read the self-study terrorism course in less than a day and understand it. It will make them “reasonably knowledgeable, but it will not make them highly trained,” he concludes.

“All fire departments must recommit themselves to training to the operations level for first responders and to the awareness level for all others,” recommends Greg Champlin, assistant fire chief of the Denver (CO) Fire Department and former director of emergency management for the city and county of Denver. “Needed are guidelines that identify what first responders should and should not do and concepts and principles that will guide their courses of action.”

The following recommendations have also been offered:

Departments in a region that work together in mutual aid and other arrangements should have standardized equipment for functions such as decontamination. “Standardized training and equipment will ensure mutual-aid capability and if there is an SOP, everybody will have the same equipment and use the same remedies,” notes Thomas Kennedy, a battalion chief in the City of New York (NY) Fire Department and one of the founders of the Northeastern States Fire Consortium.

Local departments should set goals and objectives with regard to what should be done in the following areas: training for chief officers, equipment, PPE, meters, detectors, and decon equipment.

All firefighters should have awareness and operations level training. Awareness training may be sufficient for other first responders such as police. The train-the-trainer program should be mandatory.

Consideration might be given to whether the training should be certified.

The standard for training will be established around the 1997 editions of NFPA 471, Responding to Hazardous Materials Incidents; NFPA 472, Professional Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials Incidents; and NFPA 473, Competencies for EMS Personnel, explains the NFA`s Dyar. But, he adds, there will be a focus on those “unique nuances” applicable to terrorist-related incidents. “These nuances,” he says, “can hurt us.”


The consensus within the fire service is that the way to ensure that all firefighters will receive the appropriate training is to have Congress mandate and fund it. Most agree that the most cost-effective and expedient way to ensure that all firefighters receive the appropriate training is to incorporate WMD training modules into existing haz-mat courses and to also have them as stand-alone courses for responders not trained in hazardous materials. Fire departments also will need money to pay for personnel replacements while the participants attend training programs.

Departments that have an operational Level A team with backups and an adequate decon program have an edge relative to preparing for WMD incidents. In addition, they may be given sophisticated equipment such as Level A suits. “The government will supply chemical protective suits for those prepared to use them, ” Eversole points out. Some departments, however, have had to cut back on their haz-mat teams because they couldn`t afford them.


Reports from some of the jurisdictions that have participated in the federally funded terrorism training programs indicate that overall the programs have been well received and are perceived as a step in the right direction. Denver, the first city to be trained by the DoD under Nunn-Lugar II, had instructed 1,000 first responders, including EMS personnel and physicians, as of October 1997, reports Champlin. Firefighters were trained to the operations level. District fire chiefs and command personnel received training in managing incidents involving terrorism. Additional training under Nunn-Lugar is tentatively scheduled for June 1998, Champlin adds.

He recalls that trying to get federal assistance was a “frustrating” process before Nunn-Lugar. At that time, the department had completed a self-assessment and was looking into how Denver could obtain additional resources, he relates. The evaluation had to be completed in a very short time. Now, he adds, the Army does the assessing and allows more time for it.

Champlin was in charge of maintaining a state of preparedness during the trial of Timothy McVeigh, one of the convicted terrorists in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Denver worked with federal and state counterparts to prepare for this event.

Before Nunn-Lugar II, Denver had received some training assistance from the EPA for the five Denver metro area haz-mat teams. These teams have since received terrorism-response training to the technician level. “Denver is fortunate that it has access to five haz-mat teams under a metro mutual-aid agreement,” says Champlin.

When it comes to responding to a terrorist attack within his jurisdiction, Champlin notes that the local fire department is on its own until the military team flies out from Aberdeen, which may take from six to 12 hours. “We need capability [training] to protect personnel. The training must be to different levels for different personnel,” he adds. “Police, for example, should be trained to the awareness level.”

Denver will receive under Nunn-Lugar various types of detection equipment, including the following used by the Military: an M256 chemical detection kit; a CAM (chemical agent monitor (which, he notes, has a radioactive source that requires a state permit); and a simulator for training to the awareness level in WMD. The jurisdiction will get $300,000 in training aids, $60,000 of which will be a standard package; the remainder will be tailored to the jurisdiction`s needs. As of press time, about half of the equipment had been received.

The Public Health Service is working on making the required medical supplies, such as antidotes for various biological agents, available through the MMST (see below) and other local facilities, such as the Poison Control Center in Denver, according to Champlin. The MMST and local haz-mat teams are exploring ways to complement each other instead of duplicating efforts, he adds.

“Threat assessment is the most difficult part of the scenario,” according to Champlin, who explains that Denver revisited awareness training for hazardous materials. Even city workers–police, recreation department, public works, and so on–need awareness training, he maintains. But, he adds, “We need local money to do this.”

An objective set by Denver includes developing a Level A team that will provide additional capabilities at the area`s new airport, which is a 20- to 30-minute response for the nearest haz-mat team.

Denver also is working on a plan that will “get any available intelligence information across the city.” The training will include components such as triage and other procedures such as the incident commander`s notifying hospitals when prevailing conditions may jeopardize the hospital staff and the public, i.e., contaminated victims` entering the hospital seeking treatment.

“Jurisdictions with large populations must also be prepared to decontaminate large groups, say from 200 to several thousand people,” Champlin explains. Spray bottles containing a solution of household bleach and a fire hose for rinsing can be used until a complete decon can be accomplished, he notes. Denver has a 34-foot-long decon trailer with four showers for its response personnel. “A couple of hundred” of hospital gowns and some TyvekT suits (cost around $5 each) are kept on the trailer.


In September 1997, 250 Boston-area police, fire, and health officials participated in a five-day training session in which a deadly sarin nerve gas incident was simulated at the crowded Quincy Market under the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command (1996 Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act). City buses transported victims to decon sites where they were hosed down and then bused to suburban hospitals.19

Boston`s Fire Commissioner/Chief Martin E. Pierce, Jr., lauds the train-the-trainer program. “It`s very important to have federal, state agencies, and local city departments work together,” he explains. “The drill was a great way to bring all levels of agencies, including FEMA and the DoD, together.”

Boston is developing train-the-trainer programs, which will be disseminated to fire department members.

New York City

As is true for other areas of the country, Tokyo was the wake-up for New York City as well. “It infused haz-mat programs across the country,” notes Jack Fanning, chief of haz mat operations for FDNY. He adds that his department`s program has been expanding and receiving help from the city and federal governments.

“Since the sarin incident in Japan,” notes Peter M. Stuebe, captain of FDNY`s Haz Mat Co. #1, “the department has acquired chemical agent detection devices that cost from $5,000 to $6,000 each. Police responders wear chemical protective equipment to protect themselves against secondary devices that may have been planted on the scene.”

The training component of the DoD program has been met with approval, as evidenced by Fanning`s reaction: “The Department of Defense came to town and delivered vast amounts of information on weapons of mass destruction. We`re very excited this training occurred in this area.” Fanning has completed the DoD training awareness, technician, and incident command courses.

The DoD conducted two weeks of domestic preparedness training in the city last fall. In that time, reports Jerome Hauer, director, Mayor`s Office of Emergency Management in New York City, some 4,000 personnel from local and regional public safety agencies were trained in the awareness and operations of incidents involving chemical and biological weapons. They will now return to provide similar training for their respective agencies.

Two weeks after the DoD training (on November 9, 1997), the Mayor`s Office of Emergency Management conducted Operation ICE (Interagency Chemical Exercise) to evaluate the level of awareness and preparedness of the city`s public safety agencies needed to counter the emerging threat of terrorism. The exercise consisted of three interrelated training events: FIELDEX, INFRAEX, and MEDEX (briefly described below) and incorporated a series of field and tabletop exercises. More than 600 emergency personnel from nearly a dozen city, state, and federal agencies responded. The areas evaluated included first responders` ability to accurately evaluate a situation without endangering themselves or others; proper staging of responders` vehicles to facilitate additional access and egress; proper delivery of first aid treatment and decontamination of victims, proper use of antidotes and chemical protective clothing; and interagency coordination, including direction and control under the ICS.

FIELDEX. This component was an elaborate field exercise designed to evaluate the response of public safety agencies to a simulated chemical release at a large outdoor public gathering. The city used for the first time a specialized decontamination trailer capable of decontaminating 500 victims each hour. Five of these trailers, modeled after those designed by the Washington, D.C. MMST, will be in place in New York City within 12 months, Hauer notes. The use of Mark-1 kits was integrated into the victim-treatment protocols and used during the drill. New York City recently purchased a large quantity of these units.

INFRAEX. This segment constituted a workshop focusing on how the simulated incident would have affected the city`s infrastructure and how to minimize and correct any effects. Representatives from the public and private transportation, utility, business, telecommunications, real estate, and financial communities participated. It was funded in part by the DoD.

MEDEX. More than 40 city hospital emergency rooms participated in this exercise, which allowed hospitals to evaluate their effectiveness in assessing, decontaminating, and treating victims of a chemical terrorist attack. The objective was to learn how to cope with and effectively treat “walk-in, self-referred” patients who arrive in the emergency room minutes and even hours after being exposed to a chemical agent.

Operation ICE will serve as a model for cities throughout the United States.

One aspect of the DoD program that did not receive as high a rating as the training was Equipment. “A city like New York has not received a reasonable allocation of equipment,” says Hauer. In fact, he says it hasn`t received any yet. “We spent $1.5 million ourselves,” he relates. “We received six training kits,” he adds, but they won`t make much of a difference in a city like New York.”


After the Tokyo sarin incident, the Chicago Fire Department requested through the City, Illinois Emergency Management, and the Governor`s Office that the Illinois National Guard, which has a chemical decon unit, be directed to assist with terrorism-related training. “In less than two weeks, we had three squad companies–haz mat, O`Hare Airport, and downtown–trained in instruments,” Eversole explains. The companies were trained in M8, M9, and M256 kits, which the Illinois National Guard provided on loan.

Chicago will attempt to train 25,000 people, including city employees of all categories. The police and fire departments participate in simulated scenarios involving chemicals or bombs. The fire department trains police bomb technicians in how to use SCBA and don chemical protective clothing. “We will give them what they need. They will handle the bomb,” Eversole says. “There is an intelligent, working system already in place within our department that incorporates the EMS, police, and fire. We just have to determine how to make it work for terrorism. A basic plan is needed for terrorism just as it is for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and fires.”

Following is a list of activities some other states have undertaken to enhance their preparedness for a terrorist attack.

Maine. Maine Fire Training & Education, Southern Maine Technical College, began offering terrorism training to emergency first responders across the state last Fall. Funding was through a $50,000 federal grant through the Maine Emergency Management Agency. Firefighters, police officers, emergency medical providers, and industrial safety personnel were offered the free training, made possible through FEMA funding. The money was used to reproduce student manuals, instructor guides, and supporting visual components; rent classroom space; and cover administrative expenses. The objective is to reach as many first responders as possible through the recently released Emergency Response to Terrorism: Basic Concepts.20

Wyoming. The Emergency Management Agency held its second annual terrorism training exercise in May 1997.21

Kentucky. Louisville, in early April 1997, hosted a day-long “The Consequences of Terrorism” conference for medical personnel, haz-mat teams, and other emergency personnel. It covered the bombing at the 1996 Olympic Games and topics of explosives and WMD weapons. [21]

Rhode Island. The state emergency management office has developed a training program designed to build on and modify existing emergency response training. A terrorism component was added to the state emergency operations procedure (EOP), and a terrorism task force comprised of federal, state, and local authorities was established. The task force will evaluate state and local organizations and facilities` readiness to handle a terrorism-related crisis. Local hospitals have been surveyed with regard to decon facilities and medicine and antidote supplies. Rhode Island also has sponsored extensive ICS training (seminars and exercises) for the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. [21]

Massachusetts. The Emergency Management Agency has developed programs for building and security managers, including company CEOs and local government leaders. A video produced by the agency explains what the average citizen can do to prevent a terrorist attack and stresses basic awareness and the importance of reporting suspicious behavior to local authorities. SOPs for local emergency management agencies` response to terrorist incidents are being developed. [21]


Being prepared for terrorist attacks is a vast, complex, and ongoing project. Implementing a program that involves multiple government agencies–some with philosophies different from that of the fire service–naturally makes it difficult to achieve all expectations of all parties, especially during the initial stages of implementation.

“Obviously everybody wants everything,” notes Eversole. “But the approach must be reasonable and practical.”

“The programs are new; they are not perfect,” observes Caldwell. He explains that the IAFC is working closely with the DoD, BJA, and FEMA to improve program content and delivery of the federal counterterrorism programs for the fire and emergency service.

The fire service welcomes the federal government`s efforts to help first responders be better prepared for incidents involving acts of terrorism. Yet, it has reservations as well. Among some of the areas of concern identified include the following:

“We need a well-trained, disciplined army of firefighters (men and women) ready to respond. If we don`t get training and resources that will protect our members, first responders will be the victims,” says Boston`s Chief Pierce. Very few, if any, would disagree with this statement, yet, observers point out, the fire service has been on the “short end of grants.” More money has gone to the Department of Justice for training law enforcement personnel than to FEMA, they point out.

The view commonly held in the fire service is that mandated firefighter requirements should be funded and that volunteer and career chief officers should be trained. When the money goes to the state emergency management agency, they explain, it does not always get down to the fire departments.

Training and equipment go together, stress observers. You cannot be effective if you don`t have both. As things stand for many departments, there is no money to acquire detection devices for biological agents and other necessary equipment. In addition, they point out, localities will have to replace the caches of medical supplies for the MMSTs as they become outdated.

Time is another concern. The program should be moving faster, some say. In February 1997, for example, Marrs, testifying before the House National Security Subcommittee on Military Research and Development Panel on behalf of the IAFC, told panel members: “This new equipment and technology, it`s not going to do any good until it hits the streets …. We need it yesterday.” He stressed the need for swift action. [12]

At the February 3, 1997 Firefighter, HAZMAT/Incident Commander Performance Objectives Focus Group Meeting, it was brought out that about 7,000 of the 32,000 fire departments in the United States have paid personnel, generally in the cities, and that although probably 10 to 30 percent of the fire departments represented at the Focus Group conference had procedures for responding to a WMD incident, possibly only 10 fire departments had the capability to detect chemical agents.

Some perceive a lack of coordination and direction in the federal initiatives. The real “black hole” Mark Ghilarducci, deputy chief of the Fire and Rescue Division of California`s Governor`s Office of Emergency Services, sees is that “no fire service committee is working together.” FEMA, he says, should take the lead in the antiterrorism arena, just as it did with wildland fire and incident management. “Users/practitioners must be included in the decision process,” he says, “and chiefs must push the program across the country.”

Others say they, too, would like to see FEMA be given the authority and full funding to lead the first-responder terrorism preparedness training efforts. The NFA should coordinate, and the military should be technical consultants to the fire departments, they propose. In addition, they say, that since terrorism is a global problem and can happen anywhere, the problem should be addressed on a national, not local, basis. The money, therefore, should go to FEMA, not the individual states.

Evaluating the program components as they have been occurring has helped to improve on some of the initial problems. “Philosophical differences” is one such area. The differences in outlook between the military and fire service approach led to some “blunt, traumatic discussions,” explains Eversole. “Some hell was raised.” Eversole is working with the Government and the DoD to help design the national program for the 120 cities and to make “the transition from the military to civilian first responders.” At first, there were so many different ideas, Eversole recalls. Many of those gaps have been bridged, he says. He points out that the varying viewpoints “were not a matter of being right or wrong–just different. In the Military,” he explains, “personnel respond to instructions/directions with a `Yes, Sir.` Civilians, on the other hand, will fire questions at you if something doesn`t sound right.” One change in the program was the bringing in of “quality instructors from the fire service who were able to talk to firefighters, EMS personnel, and the police in the street.”

There has also been some concern about whether responders should become involved in functions such as collecting evidence. It is recognized that some training may be needed to help firefighters recognize and preserve evidence. There is some reluctance, however, to having firefighters collect the evidence or be responsible for its custody. Collecting evidence is the role of law enforcement or the FBI, noted some attendees at the Focus Meeting, and law enforcement personnel should be given the protective equipment to do this safely, some are recommending.

“What is needed,” points out FDNY`s Downey, “is a partnership/interface between law enforcement and the fire service regarding intelligence and information on potential terrorist events so that the fire service can be prepared.”


Fire departments must be proactive in the area of terrorism. Some of the things you can do include the following: set minimum training requirements for your members and others who would respond to such incidents in your jurisdiction, contact your state fire academy to arrange for training (if you are not a target jurisdiction in the initiatives), hold multiagency simulated training exercises, become more active in setting construction guidelines for new structures that might be terrorist attractions (see “Construction and Terrorism” on page 82), build some general guidelines applicable to terrorism into your fire prevention public education programs, and communicate regularly with your elected officials to make them aware of your concerns and needs.

When writing to your federal legislators, make them aware of your specific needs with respect to training, sophisticated detection equipment, and medical supplies. Among suggestions you may want to make are the following:

Make equipment and supplies available through federal contract.

Make the initiatives more “fire service-friendly.”

Avoid duplication of efforts.

Designate national sites for conducting training exercises that can accommodate fire and police personnel, emergency managers, and other responders during which radios, detectors, and command and control techniques could be used.

Be careful, however, not to come off as an “ungrateful critic.” Convey that you`re glad that the Government has taken action and urge the legislators to continue the programs, recommends Caldwell.

Keep in mind also that being prepared to handle all types of terrorist attacks involves commitment. It may be part of the fire service`s job to help the public [and maybe even some in the fire service itself] to be aware of this fact.

“We in the United States have to make up our minds about spending priorities,” counsels Eversole. “We all buy insurance with the hope that we never have to use it. We must look at terrorism in the same way, asking what we have to do to protect ourselves and then going ahead and doing it.” He cites as an example the fact that the specialized detection equipment being provided by the Federal Government will be outdated in a couple of years and will have to be replaced. The expense for replacing it is really miniscule when looked at within the context of our military budget, Eversole observes.

The nature of the terrorism problem is not alien to the fire service, some observers point out. They see it as another “specialized problem” that confronts the emergency services from time to time, such as protecting responders from communicable diseases and hazardous materials. “[Terrorist training] is another layer of education/intelligence we have to put into emergency responders so they can protect themselves and minimize damage,” explains Eversole.

Other fire service veterans, including Ghilarducci, see the terrorism challenge as “history repeating itself” in the sense that it presents a national hazard that must be addressed on various levels. Ghilarducci compares the situation with that concerning radiological equipment in the 1950s. At that time, he says, high-ticket equipment was purchased in quantity and distributed to local governments.

Underlying the efforts to meet the challenges posed by the latest threat to fire service responders is a pervading confident optimism–the same attitude that has kept the fire service viable and effective throughout its long history–as evidenced in the remarks of Fanning: “If anyone can meet the challenge, it is the fire service. This is what the fire service does. We`re plugging into the existing structure [hazardous materials programs], which is in place anyway.”

* * *

The terrorism training programs are constantly evolving and are in various stages of planning, development, evaluation, and revision. The fact that multiple agencies have been assigned various responsibilities and there is no one coordinating source from which to obtain a current progress report on the overall program makes it difficult to ascertain the exact present and projected future status of each initiative. Departments should maintain contact with the fire service associations/agencies involved to see how their departments will be affected and to ask what they can do to take advantage of all assistance that might be available to their departments. Some help may be available just for the asking. Other assistance may involve meeting specific criteria.

* * *

At press time, it was learned that Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) is planning to introduce Omnibus Fire Service legislation early in the second session of Congress. It would provide a national hands-on training center for urban search and rescue and an economic package that would allow first responders to upgrade their apparatus and equipment. Weldon chaired a hearing of the House National Security Subcommittee on Military Research and Development in November 1997 to review the progress of Nunn-Lugar II. He believes the initiative “falls short in responding to the early stages of a terrorist incident, when first responders must act alone.” In addition, he expressed to the committee concern that the DoD train-the-trainer program does not provide the equipment fire departments need to respond to incidents involving chemical and biological agents. He “admonished the panelists for suggesting that fire departments (particularly volunteer departments) can afford to pay for the equipment out of their existing budgets.”22


1. Glover, Norman, “Mitigation of Terrorist Violence by Multidisciplined Facilities Planning,” J Architectural Engineering, Sept. 1995.

2. Center for National Security Studies, Washington D.C., FBI Domestic Counter-Terrorism Program, Internet, July 8, 1997.

3. Collins, Larry, “A Routine Call Becomes A Close Call,” Fire Engineering, Oct. 1997, 43-58.

4. Morrison, Dan, “Subways Were a Target/Feds: 2 planned suicide attack on city trains,” newsday.com, compiled by Sheila McKenna; partial source: The Encyclopedia of New York City, Aug. 1, 1997.

5. Downey, Sr., Ray, “FDIC: Reenergizing Leadership in the Pursuit of Fire Service Excellence,” Fire Engineering, Sept. 1997, 78-79.

6. “Two Bombs Explode in Suburban Atlanta,” Steve Macko, ENN Editor, ENN Daily Intelligence Report, 3:017, Internet, Jan. 17, 1997 (http://www.emergency.com/atlnabomb.htm) Jan. 22, 1998.

7. “Explosion Rocks Gay Bar in Atlanta,” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, http://www.ngltf.org/press/BOMB.HTML, Feb. 22, 1997.

8. “Patterns of Global Terrorism,” U.S. Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, April 1997.

9. Ciabattari, Jane, “Parade`s Special Intelligence Report,” PARADE MAGAZINE, Nov. 2, 1997.

10. Richter, Paul, “U.S. ill-equipped for germ attack.” THE RECORD, Hackensack, N.J., Dec. 27, 1997, S-10.

11. “Background Information on Training and Exercises Program for Domestic Terrorism Emergency Preparedness,” Memo for fire and emergency trade publications, Morrie Goodman, Director of Communications, FEMA, Aug. 28, 1997.

12. “Preparing local rescue workers for terrorist attacks urged,” News in Brief, Fire Engineering, May 1997, 32.

13. “Minutes of the Firefighter/HAZMAT/Incident Commander Performance Objectives Focus Group Meeting (a chemical and biological terrorism response workshop held at the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command), Feb. 1997.

14.”Update” [Senator Lugar]: Sept. 25, 1997 http://www.iquest.net.lugar.rgl92797.htm.

15. “Counter-terrorism Response and Preparedness Assistance to State and Local Governments, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency White Sheet, Aug. 1997.

16. “U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) White Paper, Aug. 1997.

17. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Counter-Terrorism Preparedness Fact Sheet, Aug. 5, 1997.

18. “Chemical, Biological, Nuclear Response Team Formed in Indiana,” U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar press release, Sept. 3, 1997.

19. USA Today, Sept. 15, 1997.

20. Maine Fire Training & Education, Southern Maine Technical College, Portland, Maine press release, Aug. 1997.

21. The Dispatch, Emergency Film Group, Oct. 14, 1997, Spring 1997 Vol. VII, No. 1).

22. Fire Control Digest, Washington Capital News Reports, Inc., Arlington, Va., Dec. 1997, 3.

Many thanks to the following who have contributed to this article: John Buckman, chief of the German Township (IN) Volunteer Fire Department and former chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Volunteer Chief Officers Section; Alan Caldwell, director of government relations, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC); Greg Champlin, assistant fire chief of the Denver (CO) Fire Department and former director of emergency management for the city and county of Denver; Phil Cogan, deputy director emergency information, FEMA; Ray Downey, Sr., battalion chief and chief of rescue operations assigned to the Special Operations Command, FDNY, and the USAR task force leaders representative to FEMA; Jeff Dyar, program chair for EMS, NFA; John Eversole, deputy district chief and coordinator of hazardous materials for the Chicago (IL) Fire Department; Jack Fanning, chief of haz mat operations for the City of New York (NY) Fire Department (FDNY); Mark Ghilarducci, deputy chief of the Fire and Rescue Division of California`s Governor`s Office of Emergency Services; Jerome Hauer, director Mayor`s Office of Emergency Management, New York City; Thomas Kennedy, battalion chief, City of New York (NY) Fire Department and an organizer of the Northeastern States Fire Consortium; Ray Kiernan, fire commissioner of New Rochelle, New York; Frank Lepage, program manager, First Responder National Training Program, BJA; Gary Marrs, chief, Oklahoma City (OK) Fire Department; Captain William M. Moultrie, deputy coordinator of emergency services, Arlington County (VA) Fire Department; Martin E. Pierce, Jr., fire commissioner, Boston, Massachusetts; Peter M. Stuebe, captain, FDNY`s Haz Mat Co. #1; Robert C. Weiderhold, NFA`s program chairman for haz-mat.

Table 1



Under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) First Responder National Training Program targeted 120 metro jurisdictions to provide first responders with training in the following areas:

Emergency Response to Terrorism: Basic Concepts Training Program. A two-day, on-site, operations-level course for first responders in the 120 targeted urban jurisdictions. Covers basic awareness training of a terrorist incident: recognizing a terrorist incident, instituting protective measures, assuming control of the incident scene, and establishing an incident management structure. Key learning objectives focus on fire safety and self-preservation. It was released nationally in July 1997. Some 6,500 fire and emergency medical first responders had been trained at press time.

Emergency Response to Terrorism: Self Study. A four-hour, self-paced awareness primer course, based on the haz-mat training model. Introduces basic awareness concepts with a particular emphasis on incendiary and explosive devices. It was released nationally in June 1997 and was distributed to every fire department in the country (36,000). Copies are also available through its Publications Office.

Fire departments not among the 120 targeted jurisdictions may obtain this training through their local state fire academy, explains Frank Lepage, BJA`s program manager of the First Responder National Training Program (see News in Brief on page 36). Two representatives from each state fire academy were trained to deliver this course in their respective states. The course is available nationwide through BJA support and FEMA grant funds.

Also, the NFA Emergency Response to Terrorism: Self-Study course may be downloaded as a “Distance Delivery Course” from the Internet at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/nfa/tr_ertss.htm. A course overview and instructions on how to complete the course are available from this site as well.

Upcoming Training Materials: Emergency Response to Terrorism: Tactical Considerations consists of two modules: Tactical Considerations and Incident Management. A six-day NFA resident program that covers EMS, hazardous materials, and incident command. It is being designed primarily for technician- and specialist-level personnel who will be directly involved with advanced tactical operations. It is expected to be available in late 1998. n

Table 2


Nuclear Awareness and Technical Response to Nuclear Threats Workshop. Provides heightened awareness of technologies required for a weapons program and the roles, responsibilities, and capabilities for responding to a nuclear threat.

Weapons of Mass Destruction. Provides an overview of nuclear, chemical, and biological technologies associated with weapons of mass destruction and the roles, responsibilities, and capabilities for response to threats.

Special Event Support–Radiation Awareness Training. Provides basic information concerning nuclear radiation, radiation health effects, and medical considerations and nuclear weapons effects. n

MARY JANE DITTMAR has been associate editor of Fire Engineering for seven years. Previously, she was the editor of a natural health/nutritional trade magazine, a teacher, a medical copy writer, and a columnist. She has a B.A. in English/Journalism and a master`s degree in communication arts and is a freelance writer.

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