In case of a chemical attack, a decontamination plan is what can save people’s lives. Decontamination is defined as a set of procedures aimed at eliminating the danger caused by the natural environment, industry, or people (Maniscalco & Christen, 2011). Peculiarities of chemical terrorism include a large specter of action and dramatic health outcomes. Thus, a thorough decontamination scheme should be developed and applied as soon as possible in cases of chemical attacks. Hospital emergency departments have a crucial role in helping the victims of chemical attacks, especially in the decontamination process. Personnel at such departments should be well-educated about all kinds of chemical attacks such as biological, radiological, explosive, and nuclear (Timm & Reeves, 2007). Fast reaction and professionalism of medical workers can save people’s lives when chances for survival are counted by minutes.
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The vulnerability of a Local High School for a Chemical Terrorist Attack
A high school is a vulnerable place and a likely target for a terrorist attack as there are many people in it, most of whom are teenagers who cannot react quickly and can be easily hurt. In the case of a chemical terrorist attack, high school children are especially sensitive as their organism’s defense system is not as strong as one of the adults. Also, children are more apt to panic and less able to explain the kind of pain they experience. Thus, high school is a likely target for chemical terrorists.
A Mall as a Likely Target for a Chemical Terrorist Attack
Malls are susceptible to terrorist attacks as they are places where many people gather. By performing a terrorist attack on a mall, the attackers are sure to hurt a large number of citizens. When a chemical terrorist attack is performed in a mall, there will be a lot of panic and chaos. Also, due to a huge territory, some victims may be in distant places of a mall, which disables the rescue team members from providing fast assistance to the hurt people.
Decontamination Stages and Initial Decontamination Considerations
Chemical decontamination is the process of removal of chemical elements from people or things (Kumar, Goel, Chawla, Silambarasan, & Sharma, 2010). The aim of this process is to eliminate the radiation and remove the surviving radiation materials from the area. However, the most important purpose is to save the people who have suffered from chemical attack.
A high school and a mall have in common a large number of possible victims. The age of the victims is different: at school, they are mostly young and adolescent children, while at the mall, they are mostly adults. Thus, the decontamination plan will be similar for these two facilities, only for high school, the rescue team should act more cautiously as the schoolchildren may receive a higher dose of contamination due to their young age and poorer immune system.
Decontamination stages are the following: evacuating the people from the hazardous facility, providing the first aid for those not seriously hurt, transporting victims to the hospital, performing necessary medical procedures depending on type and range of contamination, and decontaminating the facility in which the chemical terrorist attack took place. The latter stage should be performed by the second team of rescue professionals simultaneously, with the first team taking care of the victims.
The initial decontamination considerations include assessment of the type of contamination, providing first aid to the people, and decontamination of the building. Chemical decontamination involves the transformation of toxic elements into nontoxic substances by detoxification or degradation. Decontamination occupies a crucial place in the process of protection against Chemical Warfare factors (Kumar et al., 2010). It is necessary to minimize the dangerous impact of the chemicals as soon as possible and allow the facilities to continue their usual activities. Depending on the type of chemical contamination, there are several kinds of decontamination. Radioactive type is divided into smearable and fixed. The first one can be eradicated by cleaning the surface with a rag. The second type of radioactive decontamination is associated with corrosion effects on concrete or metal items. To reduce the danger in such a case, severe contaminant removal methods are required. Another widespread type of contamination is biological. This kind involves supplying the people exposed to chemical agents with proper therapeutic and symptomatic medicines.
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Some decontamination considerations will differ in schools and malls. At school, special attention should be paid to the assessment of dangerous levels of school equipment as children will return there after some time. Thus, the rescue personnel should be extremely cautious while checking the building, water, and all the classroom equipment. At a mall, products should be disposed of, and the whole building should also be checked. A variety of materials of which the facilities are built (concrete, wood, metal, glass) disables to have a single approach to all kinds of contamination. Different materials have various corrosion levels and reactions to chemicals. Thus, decontamination in these facilities may include electrochemical, mechanical, and biological methods (Kumar et al., 2010). The efficiency of decontamination methods is disclosed via the decontamination factor (Kumar et al., 2010). This factor is the relation between the contamination level before and after decontamination.
The Importance of the Chosen Decontamination Considerations
The chosen initial decontamination considerations are important because they presuppose providing aid to the victims, along with eliminating the appearance of more victims in the area. Evacuating the people and decontaminating the facilities will make it possible to save the people’s health and lives and to allow the facilities to be utilized in the future. It is important to meet the challenges of evacuating the citizens and decontaminating the buildings as quickly as possible. To do this, I would organize transportation and rescue teams and provide the people with necessary medical care. The fast reaction of the rescue team and medical workers will enable the people to restore their health. Decontamination of the facilities will make it possible to resume their activity as soon as possible.
Creating a decontamination plan is a crucial issue as chemical terrorist attacks impact a large number of citizens. Not only those at the center of the attack are hurt but also many others who communicate with the victims or appear in places where the attack has happened. Thus, the decontamination plan both for people and facilities is a must for every city. While a mall and high school have some differences as for the people attending them and the area peculiarities, these two facilities have a lot in common when it comes to the decontamination plan. In both cases, it is crucial to evacuate the people and provide them with medical aid. Also, it is necessary to decontaminate both facilities as they will be needed by the citizens in the future. With proper decontamination stages, it is possible to eliminate the damage and danger of a chemical terrorist attack.
Kumar, V., Goel, R., Chawla, R., Silambarasan, M., & Sharma, R. K. (2010). Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear decontamination: Recent trends and future perspective. Journal of Pharmacy and BioAllied Sciences, 2(3), 220-238.
Maniscalco, P. M., & Christen, H. T. (2011). Homeland security: Principles and practice of terrorism response. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Timm, N., & Reeves, S. (2007). A mass casualty incident involving children and chemical decontamination. Disaster Management & Response, 5(2), 49-55.