Acts of terrorism and mass violence targeting schools : Analysis and implications for preparedness in the USA

To enhance the preparedness of US schools to acts of terrorism and mass violence, the landscape of threats against schools must first be understood. This includes exploring the global trends of acts of terrorism against schools, as well as looking specifically at the history of terrorism and acts of mass violence against schools domestically. This …

Schools and Terrorism: Global Trends, Impacts, and Lessons for Resilience

This study characterizes trends in the frequency and characteristics of terrorist attacks in child-serving educational institutions around the world, examining the specific vulnerabilies of children and schools with regard to terrorist violence, as well as the various impacts that violence has on children, communities, and societies. Following the analysis of available data on terrorist attacks …

Anger Versus Fear: Perceptions of Terrorism Among the American Public

With recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium; Paris, France; San Bernardino, California and elsewhere, the rhetoric for addressing the issue of terrorism has grown more polarized. In particular we have seen increasingly aggressive statements demanding limits to immigration, increasing vigilance against Muslim communities, and calling for more direct military action against terrorist organizations.The tone of …

Lessons not learned: Insider threats in pathogen research

1) Even though America’s most notorious biosecurity breach — the 2001 anthrax mailings — was the work of an insider, expert panels have concluded that there is no need for intrusive monitoring of microbiologists engaged in unclassified research. 2) The debate over publication of studies on the H5N1 virus focused on terrorists and ignored the …

Part I: A Critical Examination of “The Myth of Nuclear Deterrence”

Several years ago, Ward Wilson presented in this journal a wide-ranging challenge to what every generation of national security scholars and practitioners since the end of World War II has been taught about nuclear weapons. He asserted that nuclear deterrence amounts to far less than its proponents have claimed and provocatively suggested that nuclear deterrence …

Rural and suburban population surge following detonation of an improvised nuclear device: A new model to estimate impact

Background: The objective of the study was to model urban evacuation into surrounding communities after the detonation of an improvised nuclear device (IND) to assist rural and suburban planners in understanding and effectively planning to address the effects of population surges. Methods: Researchers developed parameters for how far evacuees would travel to escape disasters and …

Health care system planning for and response to a nuclear detonation

The hallmark of a successful response to a nuclear detonation will be the resilience of the community, region, and nation. An incident of this magnitude will rapidly become a national incident; however, the initial critical steps to reduce lives lost, save the lives that can be saved with the resources available, and understand and apply …

The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review: the Nexus of Biological Weapons Threats and U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

The U.S. government released its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) Report in 2010. The NPR Report is declaratory policy that warns adversaries and assures allies about how the U.S. would use nuclear weapons to defend the people, territories, and vital interests of the United States. The NPR Report reflects the current administration‘s beliefs that nuclear weapons …

Day Three: Regional Resiliency and Health Challenges in the Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism

On February 23, 2010, in New York City, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (NCDP) convened a unique roundtable of experts to discuss the impacts on a major U.S. city and the surrounding region, of the detonation by terrorists of a 10-kiloton improvised nuclear device. Aware of …

Regional Health and Public Health Preparedness for Nuclear Terrorism: Optimizing Survival in a Low Probability/High Consequence Disaster

The United States remains unprepared to cope with the possibility of an attack on a major city by terrorists capable of acquiring and detonating an improvised nuclear device. Long-held anxieties about the non-survivability of nuclear war promulgated during the intense U.S.—Soviet arms race from the late 1940s through the 1980s, and reluctance to consider low …

Of peppers and preparedness

What can a chili pepper teach us about disaster preparedness? In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began issuing advisories about a foodborne salmonella outbreak that was detected in the United States. At the end of August, the agencies announced with little fanfare that the …

Biological Terrorism

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the subsequent mail-borne anthrax attack of October 2001, it has become dear that health care providers may be called upon to respond to victims of terrorism. Biological terrorism (BT), in particular, involves the use of virulent agents with the intent to cause mass casualties and/or …

The American Preparedness Project: Where the US Public Stands in 2007 on Terrorism, Security, and Disaster Preparedness

Since 2002, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and The Children’s Health Fund (CHF), have conducted annual surveys of public attitudes and personal preparedness in the aftermath of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Produced in collaboration with the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion …

Comfort level of emergency medical service providers in responding to weapons of mass destruction events: impact of training and equipment

Background: Numerous studies have suggested that emergency medical services (EMS) providers are ill-prepared in the areas of training and equipment for response to events due to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and other public health emergencies (epidemics, etc.). Methods: A nationally representative sample of basic and paramedic EMS providers in the United States was surveyed …

Bioterrorism

Terrorism preparedness is a highly specific component of general emergency preparedness. In addition to the unique pediatric issues involved in general emergency preparedness, terrorism preparedness must consider several additional issues, including the unique vulnerabilities of children to various agents as well as the limited availability of age- and weight-appropriate antidotes and treatments. Although children may …

Terrorism and preparedness: What September 11 and its aftermath mean for physicians

In the aftermath of September 11, the people and government of the United States confronted a new reality–so too did the health care community. The attacks revealed a number of vulnerabilities with respect to the health care system’s infrastructure and ability to respond to terrorism. Although September 11 represents an unprecedented disaster in the United …

Pediatric Terrorism Preparedness National Guidelines and Recommendations: Findings of an Evidenced-based Consensus Process

A cadre of experts and stakeholders from government agencies, professional organizations, emergency medicine and response, pediatrics, mental health, and disaster preparedness were gathered to review and summarize the existing data on the needs of children in the planning, preparation, and response to disasters or terrorism. This review was followed by development of evidence-based consensus guidelines …

Clinicians' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Concerns Regarding Bioterrorism After a Brief Educational Program

We conducted this study to determine the knowledge, attitudes, and intended behaviors of New York City clinicians regarding bioterrorism-related diseases after a brief educational program. Data on clinicians’ knowledge and attitudes toward bioterrorism and related diseases were collected using a self-administered questionnaire following a 3.5-hour educational program. Participants (n = 310, 82% response rate) reported …

How Americans Feel About Terrorism and Security: Three Years After September 11

The following is a product of The National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, commissioned in collaboration with The Children’s Health Fund (CHF), and conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. NCDP is a major national and international resource in disaster and terrorism readiness. NCDP includes one …

Atropine Use in Children After Nerve Gas Exposure

Following the FDA’s approval of a pediatric dosage Atropen®, the Pediatric Expert Advisory Panel was asked to review the existing guidelines and recommendations regarding the treatment of children exposed to nerve agents and the Mark-1 Kit; review the new literature on pediatric nerve agent exposure; and to develop recommendations and guidelines for this new device …

Disaster and Terrorism Preparedness: What Pediatricians Need To Know

This chapter is designed to provide an overview of key issues for the pediatrician with respect to terrorism and disaster preparedness. It is not intended to be a complete compendium of didactic content, but it does represent an approach to understanding what needs to be learned by the pediatrician on this difficult topic and how …

How Americans Feel About Terrorism And Security: Two Years After 9/11

Understanding attitudes, concerns and reactions of individuals and families is critical to emergency planning efforts on all levels. In order to have effective implementation of a disaster plan, people need to be confident in (a) the reliability of information from official sources, (b) the capacity of government to perform effectively in a crisis and (c) …

The Vigilance Defense: Proven Systems and Well-Prepared People Are Our Best Protection Against Bioterror

Last fall, when physicians diagnosed anthrax in a Florida man named Robert Stevens, they initially suspected that they were seeing a rare, natural case of the disease. The infection of a co-worker of Stevens, however, put the country on alert. Five people eventually died, but the quick recognition that the earliest anthrax infections resulted from …