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Introduction to NBC Terrorism: An Awareness Primer and Preparedness Guide for Emergency Responders

NCJ Number
Robert J. Heyer D.Sc.
Date Published
October 2001
15 pages
This primer is an introduction to the types of weapons to which first responders may be exposed in a terrorist attack; knowledge of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons (NBC) is needed for every first responder.
In addition to the NBC weapons, conventional weapons and explosives are also discussed. In addition to information provided on the nature and impacts of various types of weapons that may be used by terrorists, sections of this report discuss the handling of suspicious mail, emergency decontamination, self-protection for responders, the establishment of an emergency command post, general safety guidelines, early indicators of attack, and likely targets. The report advises that when approaching a scene that may involve NBC agents, the most critical consideration is the safety of oneself and other responders. Protective clothing and respiratory protection at the appropriate level of safety must be used. Whenever an NBC incident is suspected, the first responder should immediately put on protective equipment, spend as little time as possible in the hazard zone, and keep a safe distance from the area. Decontamination should be conducted as soon and as thoroughly as possible. A quick reference guide is provided for planning and exercises.