What You Could and Should Do

The video introduced the indicators, choices of, and effects of weapons of mass destruction. In the following, we will consider the scenario of an event which has occurred and what you could and should do.

Your first action is to call for assistance. Secondly, as hard as it may be, you need to keep yourself from becoming a victim of the incident. How can you help people if you are unconscious? While you are not a trained first responder, it is useful to know what those first responders will need and how you can contribute to everyone’s safety.

  1. Think about whom you would notify in the case of a Weapons of Mass Destruction incident.
  2. How would you isolate or evacuate persons, and…
  3. How would you protect yourself so you don’t become a victim?

The first stage of action for you is to notify first responders and your superiors, according to your post orders. Use a landline if at all possible. Since you already know very well how your site is organized, selecting the safest approach route for the first responders should be possible for you. Your first priority is life, your own and everyone else’s. Incident management means preventing a problem from becoming even more serious. Be prepared to answer questions that the first responders will ask about the incident. As you are calling for assistance, stay on the line until the dispatcher has gathered all necessary information or until it gets to be unsafe for you to stay there.

The first issue in the aftermath of a WMD attack is whether to shelter people in place or give orders to evacuate. Your post orders will tell you who has the authority to order an evacuation. In helping law enforcement and other first responders with this stage, you are performing an important function.

Being aware of your post orders is crucial. Review them! If you don’t have your post orders, ask your supervisor for them. The decision to shelter–in–place versus evacuation depends on an accurate assessment of the situation and has many variables that must be considered. If the situation involves hazardous materials, you should first take careful note of the wind direction. You, and other people who may be exposed, will want to first move first cross–wind and then upwind to avoid exposure. In the case of an incident involving weapons of mass destruction, expect mass hysteria. The more order and calm reassurance you can provide, the better. Help as much as you can.

Consider the possibility of secondary devices and try not to move anything. Stay alert about possible suspicious activity and articles that don’t belong. Focus on protecting evidence as well as victims. You cannot help others if you are unable to function, so your self–protection is essential. Do not become a victim. Do not rush in. Assess the situation and keep your distance. Try to determine the wind direction. Do your best to avoid contaminated areas.

Three Main Concepts in Protective Measures:

  1. Time – To subject people for as short time as possible to the hazard; time is of the essence to save lives. Time also means that the danger will lessen the more time passes.
  2. Distance – Avoiding contact with a contaminant.
  3. Shielding – Shielding means using any protection you have available.

In conclusion, your first task is always to notify the proper authorities while keeping yourself safe. Secondly, to help the victims as much possible, try to put as much time and distance between them and the danger as you can. Finally, shield yourself and the persons in your area from the hazards using any physical means you have available. Your calm and reassuring presence will help.