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U. S. Department of Transportation
Federal Transit Administration

Issue No. 36


Office of Safety and Security
Transit Security Newsletter

May 2003


Six years ago this month a group of Federal Transit Administration staff members sat down at a lunch table at a hotel in northern Virginia with a number of chiefs of police, most from transit systems, and this newsletter was born. We hope what you have received information of use and that we will be able to continue sending it to you for years to come.


This document contains recommended immediate actions for policemen, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians who may be faced with a nuclear terrorist act.

The Situation: A conventional explosion has scattered radioac-tive material, saboteurs blew up a truck carrying radioactive material, or an aerosol containing radioactive material has been spread over a large area. There may be some injured people and, in the latter situation, there may be hundreds of contami-nated or exposed people.

Protecting Yourself: Approach the release site with caution. Position personnel, vehicles, and command post at a safe distance, upwind and uphill of the site if possible. Ensure your own physical safety. Look for fires, exposed high voltage wires, sharp or falling objects, tripping hazards, or hazardous chemicals. Be alert for changing conditions. Wear a mask to reduce the dose from inhalation of radioactive dust. Ideally, the mask should be a full face mask with a HEPA filter, but even through a wet handkerchief of cloth will help. There will be little danger from radioactive gases, so a self contained breathing mask, while effective, is not necessary unless there are other gasses or toxins present.

Dust will collect on your clothes. Remove and discard it after you leave the area. Bag the clothing for later disposal. If you fail to remove it, you will continue to receive radiation and expose others. Wear loose fitting clothes covering as much of your body as possible. Any removable garment that will prevent the dust from coming into direct content with your skin will suffice. Open wounds or abrasions must be protected from radioactive contamination. If running water or showers are available, full body rinsing with lukewarm water is advised. Even a fire hose may remove most contamination not already removed with the outer clothing.

Do not eat, drink, or smoke while exposed to potentially radioactive dust or smoke. Drinking water may be necessary for people working in high temperatures wearing bulky protective clothing. If absolutely necessary to drink water, drink from a canteen or other closed container. Beware of heat strain. If radiation measuring instruments are available, place them in plastic bags to prevent their contamination and use them to map the areas leading up to the highest dose rates. Do not enter the areas of highest dose rate except to save lives, and then make the entry as brief as possible

Institute of Justice (NIJ) Standard 0101.04 requirements. For information, see www.vests.ojp.gov or call 800, 421-6770.

Protecting the Injured and Exposed: Seriously injured people should be removed from the source radiation source, stabilized, and sent to hospitals first. After treatment of serious physical injuries, preventing the spread of the radioactive material or unnecessary exposure of other people is paramount. Carry out the following immediate response actions without waiting for radiation measurements. Establish an exclusion zone around the source and mark the area with ropes or tapes. Reroute traffic. Limit entry to rescue personnel only. Detain uninjured people who were near the event or who are inside the control zone until they can be checked for radioactive contamination, but do not delay treatment of the injured or transport to a hospital for this purpose. Take action to limit or stop the release of more radioactive material if possible, but delay cleanup attempts until radiation protection technicians are on the scene. Tell nearby hospitals to expect the arrival of radioactively contaminated and injured persons. 

Everyone near the scene should be checked for radiation contamination. As soon radiation measuring equipment can be obtained, establish a decontamination area for this purpose. Decontaminate people whose injuries are not life-threatening (bro-ken arms, etc.) before sending them to hospitals. Do not send people without physical injuries to hospitals. Record keeping is as important for the long-term health of the victims as it is for the emergency responders. Use the form attached to this newsletter to record contact information for all exposed people so they can be given medical examinations later. The Department of Health and Human Services will request this information later. 

For More Help: In the event of a radiation emergency, you should notify your state Radiation Control Program Director. Telephone numbers for each state may be found at www.crcpd.org/Map/map.asp. Notify the CDC Emergency Preparedness Branch at their 24-hour telephone number: 770, 488-7100.

Other Information: The North American Emergency Response Guidebook (Publication A70-010) and its Pocket Edition (A70-010P) contain supplemental information on dealing with radioactive material. These books may be ordered from UNZ and Co., 700 Central Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974, Phone: 800, 631-3098.  

FINANCING TERROR-PROFITS FROM COUNTER-FEIT GOODS PAY FOR ATTACKS Anti-terrorist organizations in the U.S. and abroad are homing in on close connections between transnational crime and terror-ism. Before law enforcement defined both as strategic threats, but tended to approach each problem separately, constructing 

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