An Approach to Terrorism Preparedness: Parkland Health and Hospital System (Local Perspectives on Bioterrorism)

An Approach to Terrorism Preparedness: Parkland Health and Hospital System (Local Perspectives on Bioterrorism)

In response to growing concerns regarding domestic terrorism, the 104th Congress passed Public Law 104-201, the National Defense Authorization Act, for fiscal year 1997. In addition to providing the nation’s first responders (i.e., law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical services, emergency planners, and health care personnel) with training regarding emergency response to weapons of mass effect (WME), this legislation required that the secretary of defense develop and carry out a program for testing and improving the responses of federal, state, and local agencies to emergencies involving nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Federal officials determined that the first phase of this ambitious nationwide effort, known as the Domestic Preparedness Program, be concentrated in the most highly populated metropolitan areas in the USA. As such, the 120 most populated cities in the country were initially identified to receive the planning, training, and evaluative efforts of the program. As the eighth largest population center in the USA, the city of Dallas underwent the Domestic Preparedness Program’s community-wide analysis in the fall of 1997. This analysis included the resources, strengths, and shortfalls within the existing municipal services and medical community. A multidisciplinary team with representation from the areas of law enforcement (Dallas Police Department, Dallas division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI]), fire suppression and emergency medical services (Dallas Fire Department), city administration (Office of Emergency Preparedness, Department of Water and Streets), and the medical community (City of Dallas Environmental and Health Services, Dallas County Medical Examiner, Dallas County Health and Human Services, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center [UTSW], Parkland Health and Hospital System [PHHS]) was assembled to plan, develop, and test a citywide preparedness plan.

An Approach to Terrorism Preparedness: Parkland Health and Hospital System (Local Perspectives on Bioterrorism)

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