Biological attack involves the deliberate discharge of germs or other biological substances that can cause health problem or sickness. Agents of biological attack have to be either eaten, inhaled or enter through a cut in the skin. Some biological agents cause contagious diseases such as smallpox virus while others such as anthrax do not have a contagious effect. (Leonard, 2002 pp 120-127)
In the event of a biological attack, there are various duties that are performed by the various police departments in an effort to save and make it safe for people in the affected area. The primary functions performed at the scene of a biological attack remain fairly consistent and are performed by different bodies within the police force as follows;
The role of the patrol officers in a biological attack include;
Incident size up and assessment: This is the basic step in the rescue efforts of the police in an incident of biological attack. The patrol police are responsible for assessment of the area of attack.
Crowd control: This is a basic step whereby the patrol police control the movement of the crowd after an assessment of the attacked area to determine a secure way out to avoid other forms of attacks. Scene security: This is the provision of physical security in the area of attack which allows evacuation efforts to begin where necessary. Determination of protective clothing and equipment as well as pre-entry examination.
Entry of the contaminated area for rescue of victims as needed.
The investigators are entitled to:
· Scene control and introduction of perimeters: This is done to facilitate the process of investigation and also enhance security of the investigators.
· Product identification: This is the gathering of information about the nature of the agent used in the attack. This information gathering process is also useful to medical personnel as it helps in treatment of the victims. Information gathering may take different perspectives including interviewing witnesses, and sample collection if available. (Joshua, 1999 pp 34-78)
· Recording of necessary information at the scene of crime.
· Reporting of the findings at the place of attack to the relevant authorities.
This is a crucial stage in a biological attack response program. The hazmat are responsible for decontamination process of the hazardous materials.
· To determine the area to carry out decontamination
· Planning entry and equipment preparation.
· Entry to the scene and rescue of victims as appropriate.
· Containment of the spills or release of agent of attack
· The neutralization of the release
· Decontamination of victims and other rescuers
· Formation of a triangle of the ill injured
· Consultation with hospital personnel in the decontamination process