Protecting Emergency Responders

Protecting Emergency Responders: Lessons Learned from Terrorist Attacks

Brian A. Jackson
D.J. Peterson
James T. Bartis
Tom LaTourrette
Irene Brahmakulam
Ari Houser
Jerry Sollinger
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 112
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/cf176ostp
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  • Book Info
    Protecting Emergency Responders
    Book Description:

    In December 2001, a conference held in New York City brought together individuals with firsthand knowledge of emergency responses to terrorist attacks to discuss ways to improve the health and safety of emergency workers who respond to large-scale disasters. The meeting considered the responses to the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the 1995 attack at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, as well as the emergency responses to the anthrax incidents that occurred through Autumn 2001. This book is intended to help managers and decisiomakers understand the unique working and safety environment associated with terrorist incidents, understand the equipment needs of emergency workers, and improve education and training programs and activities directed at the health and safety of emergency responders.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3257-7
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    Just as it has for the nation as a whole, the world in which emergency responders work has changed in fundamental ways since September 11, 2001. Members of professions already defined by their high levels of risk now face new, often unknown threats on the job. At a basic level, the September 11 terrorist events have forced emergency responders to see the incidents they are asked to respond to in a new light. As one firefighter-special-operations professional put it, “After 9-11, we must rethink exactly how we approach things. If you go to a fire scene and there is a...

  8. Chapter Two THE TERRORIST INCIDENTS
    (pp. 5-20)

    The broad outlines of the September 11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the autumn 2001 anthrax incidents are well known. In many ways, the events differed greatly. The World Trade Center event was much larger than the others in scale, the amount of damage that occurred, lives lost, and the number of responders involved. Its location in downtown Manhattan made managing the scene very complex. The Pentagon attack occurred at a building whose location facilitated rapid site control. The Murrah Building attack was similar in scale to the Pentagon attack but presented additional difficulties because of its location within...

  9. Chapter Three PERFORMANCE AND AVAILABILITY OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
    (pp. 21-36)

    At the conference, participants were asked to address a series of questions regarding the performance of personal protective equipment. The central concern was understanding how available PPE performed in protecting against the hazards present at the terrorist-incident sites and for the tasks emergency responders had to undertake over the duration of the campaign. Related concerns were whether responders had adequate supplies of PPE and what equipment maintenance measures were in effect.

    A theme that was repeated frequently throughout the conference was that available PPE technologies worked well at the terrorist-attack sites if they were employed as intended and for the...

  10. Chapter Four INFORMATION AND TRAINING
    (pp. 37-44)

    The discussions at the conference identified two fundamental issues concerning hazard assessment and information regarding personal protective equipment use: a lack of information about hazards and equipment, and inadequate management and communication of information.

    Occupational health and safety hazards at the scenes were assessed in a variety of ways, according to conference participants. A primary method was direct observation, backed by personal experience: “First responders know the typical hazards,” said one panelist.

    In the first two or three days, as far as levels of asbestos, silica, lead, any of the other metals that would have gone airborne, I have no...

  11. Chapter Five SITE MANAGEMENT FOR PERSONAL PROTECTION
    (pp. 45-52)

    For many participants, management issues were equally, if not more, important than equipment concerns to the personal protection of emergency responders and others at terrorist-incident sites. Such issues included establishing effective management structures and practices on-site, risk assessment and communications, and PPE enforcement. This chapter reviews key management tasks and functions emergency responders carried out—both in the initial response and during sustained campaigns—at the terrorist-attack sites, as they relate to health and safety and personal protective equipment.

    A continuing refrain throughout the conference was the need to rapidly establish a single controlling authority or unified command. A smooth...

  12. Chapter Six RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MOVING FORWARD
    (pp. 53-66)

    After they had discussed PPE performance, information and training, and site management issues, conference participants were asked to put forward concrete recommendations about technologies and procedures that could help protect the health and safety of emergency workers as they respond to acts of terrorism. These recommendations, combined with other themes that arose during the panel sessions and plenary presentations, form the basis for the following discussion.

    It should be noted that conference participants sometimes disagreed on the merits of certain recommendations, such as the need to develop more broad-spectrum PPE and the need for more PPE training. Also, participants indicated...

  13. Chapter Seven CONCLUDING REMARKS
    (pp. 67-70)

    The emergency workers and managers who attended the NIOSH/RAND conference provided a wealth of information on availability, use, performance, and management of personal protective equipment. Throughout the conference, a number of important, strategic policy issues also emerged. Some of these issues were explicitly addressed during the meeting; others are implicit consequences of the lessons learned. This concluding chapter draws out several of these strategic policy issues for further reflection.

    One of the clear messages of the conference was that most emergency workers do not believe that they are prepared with the necessary information, training, and equipment to cope with many...

  14. Appendix A ORGANIZING PARTNERS
    (pp. 71-72)
  15. Appendix B CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS
    (pp. 73-84)
  16. Appendix C CONFERENCE AGENDA
    (pp. 85-86)
  17. Appendix D SUMMARIES OF PLENARY PRESENTATIONS
    (pp. 87-90)