Emergency preparedness and Vulnerability assessment

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21 November 2015

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Emergency preparedness and Vulnerability assessment


       The residents were given warning in advance that would have enabled to evacuate from the path of the storm in advance. The national hurricane centre and the mayor of the New Orleans had communicated about the evacuation of the people in the city more than 24 hours ahead. This meant that the people would be able to clear the way by the end of 24 hours and not many that would be affected as experienced. The warnings were not too rate since the Orleans exit can be able to handle 2/3rds of the population within every 12 hours and therefore, all the people would have managed to leave before Monday when the storm reached the place. Although the residents were used to weathering storms in the past, the mayor and the hurricane centre had already warned that the storm was different from what they experienced and was travelling at a high speed of more than 170 miles per hour and of the category of 5 storms (Fradin, & Fradin, 2010). Despite the people’s willingness to evacuate from the city, there were some people that were careless and they thought that it was just the same storm causing them to succumb to waters. However, more than 80% were able to escape while 20% were still in the city since they lacked the means to leave the place due to lack of money for gas and transport (Clark Hakim & Ostfeld, 2011). New York: Springer.). Moreover, the authorities failed as they delayed their evacuation process until when the storm had already hit the New Orleans. The attitude from the responsible authorities such as soldiers and other rescue people led increased damages losses, and death of people as they delayed evacuation and rescue process until Tuesday when many people were already affected. If the people had an attitude that the storm would not be the same, all the measures would have between taken to ensures that all the people were evacuated from the city. Moreover, the New Orleans would have made initiatives to clear the city in advance. Therefore, an attitude that the storm would be the same led to a number of people remaining in the city resulting to mass deaths and damages of properties. Hence, people’s attitude contributed greatly to the intensity of disaster that caused more than 1,800 deaths and many other missing.

       Is the threat of a radiological “dirty bomb” large enough for the United States to need to train extensively for such an event? How can first responders train for such an event? How would the training be different in regards to whether the event was a terrorist attack or whether it was an accident or would the training be the same?

       The threat of radiological ‘dirty bomb’ is large and US is required to provide extensive training to its emergency and other disaster rescue team to ensure that any event that may happen will be fully addressed. This is because a radiological bomb can cause enormous harm to people in the scene and those living to the environs of the events (Bennett, 2007). Training would ensure that the victims are carefully handled t avoid spreading of the radioactive materials to other places as it may affect other people. Moreover, detonation and decontamination process require skilled people to prevent them from contacting the radio actives. The training for the first responder should entail decontamination and detonation of the victims to ensure that the radioactive material is not transferred from scene of the event. First responders should also be trained how to secure and label the scenes to prevent further contaminations of other people.

       Training for various emergency responders should be different based on the type of the event whether terrorism of accidental spilling of radioactive materials. More advance training should be carried out responders of terrorists’ attacks. This is because terrorists’ attacks may have modified radioactive materials to enhance quick spread of the material, which may cause mass damage. Moreover, different radioactive materials may be used and thus improved training is important to address all the issues that may result. However, accidental leakage of radioactive material can be handled easily since the radioactive material is also known. Moreover, only a definite location can be affected, which would be much easier to deal with the attack.

       How can we prevent terrorists from acquiring radiological material within the United States? How can we prevent terrorist from bringing radiological material into the United States? Are our current safeguards adequate enough?

       United States can prevent terrorists from acquiring radiological material through enacting laws through congress. The laws will prohibit any possession of radiological materials and put punitive measures for those found in possession. Moreover, the laws should also prohibit people working on radiological areas from handling the materials inside the premise. In addition, the laws should prohibit any transportation of such materials without licence or permit. Moreover, the congress can enact acts that put in place a special committee in charge of all radiological materials and regulation to prevent general public from acquiring them. In addition, any accidental scene that may expose radiological materials can be guarded to prevent terrorists from accessing radiological materials.

       All importation and entry of materials from other countries should be screened from radiological materials to prevent terrorists from transporting materials to the country. The united states have various regulatory bodies such as nuclear regulatory commission, (NRC) and environmental protection agency, (EPA) that are mandated with regulation of radiological materials (Kapur & Smith, 2011). However, the current safety of United States on radiological materials is not adequate because federal government only exercises regulation of radiological materials to only countries that they do not have trade agreement. This poses a risk of importation of radiological materials from the countries on agreement thus resulting to access of the materials by terrorists that may harm the citizens.

       Moreover, the transportation of radioactive wastes from hospitals and other area to disposal areas is not secure, which poses the risk of terrorists acquiring the materials during transit.

       How could first responders even know that an explosion was associated with a radiological attack? Once first responders know that an incident involves radiological material, are there any sorts of special equipment or personal protective gear that they would need to wear into the affected site

       The first responders can identify an explosion through devices such as Geiger counters, which are detect the dose rate of an attack in addition to other equipments that can measure the intensity and harm of the material (Issues in critical and emergency medicine, 2012). The equipments will help the first responders to identify the form, attack so that he or she may be able to take the appropriate measures to safeguard his health and life and that of other people. Moreover, in case of accidental spill-out, the first responders should investigate the cause of the accident before starting the rescue process so as to identify the cause. Most likely hood is that, an explosion in a radioactive company or hospital that are major sources of radioactive materials may have high probability of radioactive materials compared to those that may happen in other areas. Therefore, it is important to identify the area where the explosion has happened as a way of identifying the type of explosion. Since radioactive materials spread very easily in the environment, it is important that first responder should wear protective equipments such as respiratory protection from radiological hazards to prevent any inhalations and standard protective clothes that prevents one from direct contact with radiological materials. This will ensure that first responders are safe from radioactive materials and are able to use the right measures to attend the victims.

       How would first responders decontaminate suspected contaminated individuals leaving the area? Could this slow emergency medical response or the transport of the injured to neighbouring hospitals.

       The first responder should ensure victims remove all their clothes and leave them in the scene of a decontamination centre that may be established at close to the scene of hazard. Victims should flush their eyes with plenty of water and other body parts are decontaminated before leaving the scenes. Moreover, the contaminated individuals should be screened for any radiological material before leaving the scene to prevent further contamination to other areas. People who are not contaminated should be separated from those who are contaminated although through a screening confirmation. The process will prevent further spread of the radiological materials to other people thus reducing the effects of the occurrence. The process can slow emergency response and transport of the victims for medical services and emergency services should be referred to medical facilities without decontamination although handled with care to prevent further effects in case of inhalations. This is because, the processes of decontamination involve phases and in cases of mass victims, attending individual victims could delay the process as steps have to be followed. Therefore, although the process of decontamination should be the first step for emergency responders, it may not be good for ambulatory victims.

       What would be some of the long-term consequences of a huge radiological incident such as a radiological “dirty bomb” attack or nuclear power plant meltdown? Would there likely be lingering health problems with the victims of such an incident? How could the affected areas be recovered and brought back to normal? Provide a 1/2 to 1 page, single spaced response.

       Huge radiological incidents may affect the scenes in that the place may be alienated and people may be displaced or economic productivity of the place lost. The huge radiological attacks are associated with many health problems (Kapur & Smith, 2011). The inhalations of radio-active materials can result in respiratory health problems that may affects lungs. Moreover, it can result in lungs cancer. Gamma contacts on skin may result in skin cancer to the victims. In addition, radioactive contact has been associated with increased levels of infertility in both men and women in long term. Defectives births can also be experienced by these victims to exposure of embryo or foetus to radiological materials during an attack. Other health problems that may arise due to radiological attacks include cataracts, skin deformities, and may also cause early deaths. One of the major complications with huge radiological attack as the one experienced in Chernobyl nuclear plant in1986 with fire-fighters was an acute radiation syndrome, (ARS). The syndrome was characterised by nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting in addition to weight loss, infections, depletion of bone marrow, and bleeding (Kapur & Smith, 2011).

       The affected area could be recovered through decontamination process that may involve collecting of all the materials in the scenes either decontaminated on the scene or transported to a more secure place where they may be decontaminated. In addition, the place itself may be decontaminated through the use of commercial decontaminants such as Alcon ox or Sparkleen. Screening can then be done to ensure that the area is free from radiological materials before people can resume their duties in the place. After, the area is free from all radiological materials, people can resume their work or if it was a residential area, people can start a fresh without any risk.


Bennett, B. T. (2007). Understanding, assessing, and responding to terrorism: Protecting critical infrastructure and personnel. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley-Interscience.

Clark, R. M., Hakim, S., & Ostfeld, A. (2011). Handbook of water and wastewater systems protection. New York: Springer.

Ensor, M. O. (2009). The legacy of Hurricane Mitch: Lessons from post-disaster reconstruction in Honduras. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Fradin, J. B., & Fradin, D. B. (2010). Hurricane Katrina. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.

Guha-Sapir, D., Vos, F., Below V., & Ponserre, S. (2012). Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2011: The Numbers and Trends. Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters

Huber, C. (2014). Five of the worst natural disasters in 2013. New York: WorldVisionIssues in critical and emergency medicine. (2012). S.l.: Scholarly Editions.

Kapur, G. B., & Smith, J. P. (2011). Emergency public health: Preparedness and response. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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