Roadside bombs, anthrax, and sarin gas. All of these threat agents have been used to attack people over the past years. While most of these attacks have been done on a relatively small scale, how would the results have been different if they were applied on a larger population? Your challenge is to determine the potential damage caused by a variety of agent attacks. The first step to preventing such attacks is to know what damage each type of attack would bring.
What is an IED?IED stands for Improvised Explosive Device. An IED is a homemade bomb that is made from whatever materials are handy. The basic parts of an IED are a power source, a trigger, and an explosive. The power source can be as simple as a car battery or alkaline batteries. The trigger is the item that actually sets off the bomb. It can be anything from a trip wire to a pressure plate, but the most common trigger that is used today is a cell phone. The cell phone can also be used as a power supply. When a call is made to the phone, it sets off the bomb. The actual explosive in the device can be any type of explosive that the maker can get their hands on. Unexploded military ordinance such as artillery shells, grenades, or land mines are commonly used. IED's are often hidden in crowded areas or next to roads to be detonated when there are lots of people around.
What is a Dirty Bomb?A dirty bomb is a conventional bomb that is detonated along with radioactive material so that the radioactive material is spread by the blast. Radioactive material can cause death, cancer and other adverse health effects. However, dirty bombs are not very effective, because it is simply not practical to use the amount of radioactive material needed to pose a serious radiation threat in a dirty bomb. If a bomb maker were to attempt to use enough radioactive material in the bomb to actually pose a risk, he or she would most likely die from handling the material. Instead, bomb makers usually use small amount of radioactive material that are acquired from hospitals or industrial sources. Dirty bombs are primarily a psychological weapon; they don't harm much more people than a conventional bomb would, but the use of radioactive material scares people. If a dirty bomb were to be detonated, the government would have to pay for an expensive clean up, and people would be reluctant to return to the area where the bomb was set off.
What is a Biological Attack?A biological attack is an intentional dispersion of bacteria, fungus or viruses to kill or sicken people. Biological attacks are used by the military in the form of biological weapons that release biological agents on enemy troops, but are also carried out domestically. For example, in 2001, letters containing bacteria that cause the deadly disease Anthrax were mailed to politicians in Washington, DC as well as news media outlets. Biological attacks are especially dangerous because sickness and disease can be spread from person to person, leading to a large number of people being infected.
What is a Chemical Attack?A chemical attack is an intentional use or release of dangerous chemicals to sicken or kill people. Chemical attacks are sometimes used in warfare, but can also be used domestically. They usually take the form of a liquid or gas toxic chemical that is released in a public area in order to affect as many people as possible. Different types of chemicals affect people different ways, but many chemicals that would be used in such an attack damage the respiratory system and irritate exposed skin. An example of a chemical attack is the release of the toxic gas chlorine in a public area by a terrorist group.
What is the treatment for Anthrax?A person who is infected with Anthrax must be decontaminated so that any spores on their clothes or body are killed. To do this, the patient and his or her clothes must be washed with antimicrobial soap. The patient is then treated with strong antibiotics that can be administered either orally or through an IV. Antibiotics must be administered very soon after infection in order to save the person's life. Antibiotics are typically taken for a 60 day period.
What is the treatment for Sarin Gas?The only treatment for Sarin gas is the administration of antidotes. As Sarin can cause death in less than a minute, the antidotes must be administered very quickly. The most common antidotes are atropine and pralidoxime. After antidotes are administered, victims are hospitalized and treated for any other symptoms that they exhibit.
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