The Need for Local Chemical/Biological Response

After the 2001 terrorist attacks on 9/11, and a decade of unpredictable weather that impacted both rural and urban areas, the view of emergency preparedness changed drastically. Today, planners have to be prepared not only for everyday accidents such as fires and car accidents, but also for situations never imagined back in the 70s. Today, the world of emergency preparedness has become complex, and planners work to be ready for every contingency. That includes the possibility of Chemical and Biological (CB) events.

CB events fall into two categories: intentional and unintentional.  The intentional event is caused by a person or a group who wishes to do harm to others. The unintentional event is accidental, such as a transportation accident that leads to a chemical leak, or an explosion at a plant. In both situations,it is important to determine if the CB agents are present, and in what quantities, in order to understand the possible risk to the surrounding residents.

It is also imperative that the CB agent be identified so, that in the event of exposure, the proper medical treatment can be delivered. In a situation where a CB agent was introduced due to an attack, identification will help determine the proper defensive response, as well.

To properly detect and identify CB agents, our local first responders need to be equipped with the proven means to do so. That’s why Luxfer Magtech Inc. (formally Innotech Products, Ltd.), Ltd. has made available a line of Chemical/Biological Response (CBR) products that was previously only available to the United States Military. These reagent kits are field-tested and proven to work through years of use by the military.  They are on the ground and functioning now with our soldiers in the Middle East, and across the globe. These kits are ready for immediate distribution to local first responders.

Taking the lead in this area of emergency planning is the State of California. In 2009, the State’s FIRESCOPE Standardized Equipment List(see page 20, 21, Sections 1.1.9, 1.1.10, 1.1.11, 1.1.12,1.2.8 and 1.2.9) included five of these kits as required items for emergency and Hazmat first responders: the M8 PaperM9 PaperM256A1 Chemical Agent Detector KitM272 Water Testing Kit, and the M18A3 Chemical Agent Detector Kit.

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