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Delaware Health Alert Network #79

August 2, 2004, 3:28 pm


Health Update
HOMELAND SECURITY UPGRADES THREAT LEVEL TO ORANGE

The Department of Homeland Security issued a Code Orange - High Threat Alert yesterday on August 1, 2004 for specific targets in New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC. The High Threat Alert indicates potential for terrorist attacks related to specific targets. State and local governments were advised to increase security at specific financial institutions related in the threats.

NO SPECIFIC THREAT HAS BEEN RECEIVED INDICATING ANY ACTIVITY IN DELAWARE. The intelligence for the targets indicates car bombs or other conventional types of explosive devices.

Due to Delaware’s relative proximity to the targeted cities, Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) issues the following recommendations and protective actions to the Delaware healthcare community to assure adequate advance preparation and response capabilities.

Each entity should assure that this alert, and those issued in the future, be provided to members of command and control staff and others as indicated in your emergency response plans.

HOSPITAL RECOMMENDATIONS

Assure Hospital Preparedness

  • Assess planning and preparedness relating to mass trauma
  • Assess staffing levels -- current and related to your mass casualty plans
  • Assess equipment status - trauma supplies and related equipment

Assure Hospital Security

  • Review general facility security procedures and monitoring systems
  • Increase visibility of security
  • Review facility lock-down procedures

EMS RECOMMENDATIONS

Assure EMS Preparedness

  • Review mass casualty response plans
  • Assess equipment status - trauma supplies and related equipment

Assure EMS Safety

  • Assure that medic units and ambulances are secured at all times
  • Report any unusual activity that might indicate an interest in using medic units or ambulances for access to scenes and locations for the purpose of harming citizens or infrastructure
  • Review protocol for responding to potentially dangerous environments, i.e. dangerous gas, radiologic contamination or unusual powder present
  • If called to respond to suspicious event or explosion, consider the threat of secondary devices and proceed with great caution
  • Consider alternate routes should infrastructure (highway, bridge, tunnel, etc) be disrupted
  • Review the response to radiological contaminated scenes and patients and the decontamination required before patients are transported in an ambulance
  • Should a service inadvertently initiate transport of a contaminated patient, CALL MEDICAL CONTROL prior to off loading the patient. DO NOT CONTAMINATE the hospital inadvertently
  • Consider that an explosion may also be a contaminated site with radiological (dirty bombs) or chemical agents
  • Establish agreements to rapidly access and share chemical antidote kits with healthcare and other EMS agencies
  • Assure that all uniforms, badges, patches and other agency identification are accounted for and secured
  • Assure that all staff members are displaying agency appropriate identification

DPH continues to monitor the situation and will issue additional guidance as indicated. If you have questions or require additional information, please contact (302) 744-5450.

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
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