U.S. 'Dangerously Vulnerable' to WMDs


A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P, Editor-in-Chief, JEMS | | Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An independent study that recently concluded the U.S. remains "dangerously vulnerable" to chemical, biological and nuclear attacks seven years after 9/11 makes a supplement in November JEMS timely. This month, Meridian Medical Technologies presents an editorial supplement in JEMS, Fire-Rescue and Law Officer magazines on the threat of terrorism that continues to exist in the U.S. It focuses on threats via nerve, biological and radiological means, mustard agents, and explosives that release cyanide into the atmosphere.

The Response Guide For Chemical & Radiological Threats: Are We Prepared? supplement outlines each specific threat and details ways first responders can prepare for, and treat, victims -- and themselves -- when an attack occurs.

Chair of the independent group's latest study is Lee Hamilton, the former Indiana Democratic congressman who helped lead the 9/11 Commission, reported Associated Press writers Brett J. Blackledge and Eileen Sullivan. Hamilton notes that efforts to reduce access to nuclear technology and bomb-making materials have slowed, thousands of U.S. chemical plants remain unprotected, and the U.S. government continues to oppose strengthening an international treaty to prevent bioterrorism, according to the report produced by the bipartisan Partnership for a Secure America.

The group includes leaders of the disbanded 9/11 Commission, the bipartisan panel that investigated government missteps before the 2001 terror attacks. "The threat of a new, major terrorist attack on the United States is still very real," concludes the report, which was released on Sept. 11, 2008. It was released the same day a congressional commission held a hearing in New York on nuclear and biological terrorism threats.

"A nuclear, chemical or biological weapon in the hands of terrorists remains the single greatest threat to our nation. While progress has been made in securing these weapons and materials, we are still dangerously vulnerable," the report states. Both the report and studies that support its findings cite the failure of international cooperation to prevent terrorists from obtaining weapons of mass destruction as a major problem. Many countries continue to ignore a United Nations mandate to prevent the spread of weapons, that the ability of many countries to monitor potential bioterrorism is "essentially nonexistent," and dangerous chemical weapons stockpiles remain in some countries, including Russia and Libya.

Click here to view download PDFs of the "Response Guide For Chemical & Radiological Threats: Are We Prepared?" supplement.

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Leadership and Professionalism, Natural Disasters, Special Operations, WMD and Terrorism

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS



Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Abilene Loses Helicopter Service

Native Air leaves city with only one air helicopter service.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb


Mike McEvoy and A.J. Heightman discuss some new EMS technology at FDIC 2014.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Lieutenant in Patient Death May Go Unpunished

Family upset that officer in charge may retire without any discipline.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >

More Product Videos >