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Develop rapid assessment procedures that include facilitating the reporting, collection, evaluation and distribution to public health authorities of unusual medical symptomatology and their origins. Such a system should be designed to link medical vigilance in civilian populations to computer networks that can capture and evaluate the data quickly, using appropriate models for vectors of dispersion (e.g., meteorological data addressing likely wind speed and direction at suspected time of incident, or parameters related to transportation systems) and available toxicological information for suspected substances. This system would help to reveal likely sources of covert chemical or biological terrorism, and to recognize origins of emerging disease or infection in a timely manner.


Examine current atmospheric-dispersion models and those under development to determine which would be most suitable for the emergency management community for understanding the consequences of a release in air of a chemical or biological substance in an act of terrorism. This evaluation would also help to determine whether it is more appropriate and cost-effective to support large, complex, centralized modeling systems with dedicated operators or to encourage individual communities to recruit and train individuals to run distributed, desktop software models that could both support planning and be used during an actual event. Additionally, research should be conducted to produce computer-related methods for prompt modeling of the other possible vectors of dispersion (e.g., water, food, and transportation) in which chemical and biological substances can be released and transported.


Generate and support interactive simulation software at the national level in order to prepare first-responders and other emergency management personnel for acts of chemical or biological terrorism. Such systems represent a training tool that can be designed to be user friendly, easy to learn, run on networks that can be accessed at multiple locations, and used frequently by all levels of the first-responder community. Additionally, these models can be customized to meet the needs of individual communities, and will reduce the costs and inconveniences associated with staging frequent exercises while permitting the emergency management community to enhance and sustain capabilities to realistically plan for and adjust to unanticipated environmental changes, communication failures, and human behavior.


Conduct research to better understand the chemical, physical, and toxicological properties of the chemical and biological substances that could be employed in acts of terrorism. Such information would improve modeling of their environmental transport and fate as well as their mechanism for producing acute and chronic health effects from both low and high dose levels. This information will also support the health-risk assessments that are needed to make recommendations for performing decontamination and allowing reoccupation of buildings, vehicles, and landscapes following an event.

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