National Academies Press: OpenBook

A Guide to Transportation's Role in Public Health Disasters (2006)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2006. A Guide to Transportation's Role in Public Health Disasters. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13944.
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5CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 OBJECTIVES The overall objective of this project was to develop a guide to help transportation managers develop transportation re- sponse options in the case of an extreme event. This report is one part of this project and supports the overall project goal by providing background information to assist in transporta- tion planning for chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) events. This document describes the key features of CBR threats, and transportation responses to these threats; and provides an overview of the primary modes in the trans- portation system (i.e., highway, maritime, rail, aviation, and mass transit) including emergency response organization. 1.2 AUDIENCE This report is directed primarily toward those in the emer- gency response community with a collective interest in trans- portation incident management (i.e., emergency response). General managers, middle to upper-level managers, transit security, and community emergency response managers con- stitute the target audience for this report. 1.3 SCOPE The scope of this report includes the following: • Extreme events involving CBR agents where extreme events are defined as those that may have at least a city- wide effect. • Introduction to the fundamentals of CBR events, in- cluding the general types of events; categorization of the threats; and general introduction to the doses, detection, and decontamination of these threat agents. • Specific address of the information needed for emer- gency response decisions during a CBR event and the transportation system vulnerabilities and actions for consequence minimization of CBR events. • General description of each of the primary transporta- tion modes on a national level including system size, use, financing, and general organization. • General description of each of the primary transportation modes emergency plans and organization, and historical emergency actions. 1.4 LIMITATIONS The information in this report is general, with some spe- cific examples. Although the concepts presented should be helpful in dealing with a CBR event, the details of the spe- cific threat agent and the scenario of its release (including location, quantity, and meteorology) will dictate the most appropriate specific responses.

Next: Chapter 2 - Transportation Response to CBR Events »
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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 525: Surface Transportation Security, Volume 10: A Guide to Transportation's Role in Public Health Disasters examines development of transportation response options to an extreme event involving chemical, biological, or radiological agents. The report contains technical information on chemical, biological, and radiological threats, including vulnerabilities of the transportation system to these agents and consequence-minimization actions that may be taken within the transportation system in response to events that involve these agents. The report also includes a spreadsheet tool, called the Tracking Emergency Response Effects on Transportation (TERET), that is designed to assist transportation managers with recognition of mass-care transportation needs and identification and mitigation of potential transportation-related criticalities in essential services during extreme events. The report includes a user’s manual for TERET, as well as a PowerPoint slide introduction to chemical, biological, and radiological threat agents designed as an executive-level communications tool based on summary information from the report..

NCHRP Report 525: Surface Transportation Security is a series in which relevant information is assembled into single, concise volumes—each pertaining to a specific security problem and closely related issues. The volumes focus on the concerns that transportation agencies are addressing when developing programs in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the anthrax attacks that followed. Future volumes of the report will be issued as they are completed.

The National Academies has prepared, in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, fact sheets on biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological terrorist attacks. They were designed primarily for reporters as part of the project News and Terrorism: Communicating in a Crisis, though they will be helpful to anyone looking for a clear explanation of the fundamentals of science, engineering, and health related to such attacks. TRB is a division of the National Academies, which include the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council.

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