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Biological and Chemical Threats, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Biological agents are toxins that can lead to death or incapacitation of human beings, crops and other animals. Biological attacks can be described as intentional discharge of microorganisms or other substances that can cause sickness. Three primary types of organic or biological agents, which act as weapons exist. These agents take account of toxins, bacteria and viruses. Most of the organic agents are hard to maintain and grow. Most of them collapse quickly in the event of exposure to the sun and other factors of the environment yet other agents live longer, for instance, anthrax spores. These agents can be dispersed by exposing them to the air, through contamination of food and water and through infection of animals that carry the infection to human beings (Davis et al., 2003).

Contrary to an explosion, occurrence of a biological attack may either be immediately evident or not. While there is a possibility of noticing signs of a biological attack, such as the cases of anthrax mails, it may lead to workers in the local health centers reporting a pattern of unique sickness or a wave of people who are sick looking for urgent medical care. The danger might probably be brought to the attention of the people via radio or television broadcasts or other media means (FEMA, 2013).

There are assortments of things, which can be done, in case a person faces a biological threat. An Emergency Supply Kit can be built, which will contain items such as water and food, which are non-perishable, a radio that is either battery-powered or hand-crank, surplus batteries, and flashlights. A Family Emergency Plan can also be put in place since the members of a family might not be at the same place when the threat occurs so that it is easy to contact one another and be together in case of such an occurrence (Davis et al., 2003).

In cases where the symptoms are evident, a person should seek medical treatment from public healthcare practitioners. The infected person should ensure that there is minimal contact with other people due to the fact that the disease might be contagious. After being administered with the antibiotics, the patient should be advised to leave the affected area (FEMA, 2013).

Chemical agents can be described as noxious solids, liquids, aerosols and vapors that have poisonous effects on human beings, plants and animals. These agents can be discharged by bombs or emanated from boats, aircrafts or vehicles. Liquid chemical agents can be used to create an environmental hazard to people. Some chemical agents might not have a smell or taste. Chemical agents can either cause an effect immediately, which is a few seconds after being exposed to the agent or the effect might be delayed to about 2 hours to 48 hours. The production of the agents is also hectic. Chemical attacks might occur without prior notice. Indications of release of chemical agents include having breathing difficulties, irritating eyes, and loss of coordination, experiencing nausea or having a sour throat, lungs and nose. The release can lead to death of many birds or insects (Davis et al., 2003).

Given that a chemical release might be abrupt, there is need for the construction of an Emergency Supply Kit with, among other items, water, non-perishable food, and a Family Emergency Plan just in case the family is not together during the chemical attack. After the attack, the affected person should find fresh and clean air immediately. If the attack occurs outside the house, a person should look for the closest shelter around, and if it occurs outside and a person is in the house, they should stay within the house and lock all windows and doors. Once a person has been protected from exposure to the chemical release, they should remove clothes and take a shower to decontaminate themselves then when the conditions are safe they should seek medical advice (FEMA, 2013).

References

Davis, L. et al. (2003). Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks. RAND. Retrieved from: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monograph_reports/2005/RAND_MR1731.1.pdf

FEMA. (2013). Disaster Types.  FEMA. Web. 7 October 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.ready.gov/biological-threats http://www.ready.gov/chemical-threats

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