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Chemical weapon functional exercise--Cincinnati: observations and lessons learned from a "typical medium-sized" city's response to simulated terrorism utilizing Weapons of Mass Destruction

Chemical weapon functional exercise--Cincinnati: observations and lessons learned from a "typical medium-sized" city's response to simulated terrorism utilizing Weapons of Mass Destruction

Public Health Reports 118(3): 205-214

ISSN/ISBN: 0033-3549

PMID: 12766215

In the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks and the subsequent anthrax scare, there is growing concern about the United States' vulnerability to terrorist use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). As part of ongoing preparation for this terrible reality, many jurisdictions have been conducting simulated terrorist incidents to provide training for the public safety community, hospitals, and public health departments. As an example of this national effort to improve domestic preparedness for such events, a large scale, multi-jurisdictional chemical weapons drill was conducted in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 20, 2000. This drill depicted the components of the early warning system for hospitals and public health departments, the prehospital medical response to terrorism. Over the course of the exercise, emergency medical services personnel decontaminated, triaged, treated, and transported eighty-five patients. Several important lessons were learned that day that have widespread applicability to health care delivery systems nationwide, especially in the areas of decontamination, triage, on-scene medical care, and victim transportation. As this training exercise helped Cincinnati to prepare for dealing with future large scale WMD incidents, such drills are invaluable preparation for all communities in a world increasingly at risk from terrorist attacks.

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