Cover Your Six

Unless an incident, such as chemical or biological terrorism is on the nightly news radar screen for the moment, then governments do not pay attention, mostly.


We can start by taking five minutes after roll call, or your shift briefing, and review the Emergency Preparedness and Response hazards A-Z list posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or other references. Pay particular attention to the Toxic Syndrome Descriptions for various substances, and Preparation and Planning for First Responders. When it hits the fan, experience has taught us that you can only rely on yourself and your partner. The first person to run away from the scene will be politicians (probably knocking down women, children, and the elderly as they flee) and the first to run to the disaster will be you. Prepare for it as if your life and the lives of those you have sworn to defend, rely on it, because they do.

Here is the least you need to know for this section:

  • Terrorists, the world over, seek to obtain usable forms of WMD that are cheap, effective and not very technical to use.
  • On 20 March 1995, Japan experienced a chemical weapon attack resulting in the worst assault on their populous since WW2.
  • Much can be learned by studying the Sarin Subway Incident, such as early identification of symptoms, mass casualty handling, etc.
  • Do not wait on your local, state or federal government to train you to handle this kind of attack. They are always a "day late and a dollar short". Remind yourself that the responsibility of protecting yourself and those you can defend rests with you.
  • Seek out sources of information, such as articles like this, Officer.com search functions, and other trusted web documents.
  • Remember that 90% of any battle is mental. The more you know and can recall, the better you are prepared to react safely and effectively.


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