Call to Action-Duties & Responsibilities of HPs

J.G. Barnes (Rocketdyne/Boeing)

Radiological terrorism is not a new concept. It has been recognized as a potential attack mode since early in the Cold War. However, such terrorism was traditionally viewed as an attack mode used by an international state engaged in a state of war with the United States. The events of September 11 radically shifted the paradigm of nuclear attack scenarios by demonstrating that non-state actors could mount a major attack using non-traditional, assymetric approaches to an attack. This paradigm also shifted the countermeasures from a state organized and funded "civil defense" program to an "emergency response" program that relied on much less formalized elements to deal with training, response, equippage, and other aspects of response preparation. In this less hierarchical environment, the actions of volunteer professional organizations become much more important and vital than in the days of Civil Defense. Additionally, the expectations on health physics professionals are much higher as in some situations they are the only resources available to the public and to a number of critical response organizations. The Homeland Security Committee of the HPS has been engaged in educating its members in the realities of first response in order to facilitate their assistance in these important matters.

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