FINAL REPORT: The Chemical Threat & The State of Chemical Preparedness

This DomPrep report and survey on U.S. chemical preparedness (and the steps needed to improve it) finds DomPrep members very much in synch with the views of the DomPrep40. Both groups are highly attuned to the chemical threat and what it might mean for local emergency managers. Moreover, although local jurisdictions may consider a chemical warfare agent or TIC/TIM (toxic industrial chemical/toxic industrial material) event as high-consequence/low probability, they do not necessarily have the time, talent, and financial resources needed to apply to increasing local preparedness for such events.

“Much more can be done in policy and process at the national level to help local emergency managers be better prepared,” says DomPrep40 member Major General Stephen V. Reeves, USA (Ret.), the Pentagon’s former Joint Program Executive Officer for Chemical and Biological Defense, who prepared the survey. Citing the use of chemical detectors as an example, General Reeves comments that, “We can’t leave most local emergency managers on their own to determine what an acceptable standard is. This survey was an attempt to arrive at a consensus on the policy and process holes which – if filled – can help a local emergency manager make better decisions and be better prepared.”

Key Findings: DomPrep members validated the sharply defined consensus view of the DomPrep40. The chemical threat is real. Chemical preparedness is inadequate. What is most needed now are government standards for chemical detection equipment and an “approved products list” for DHS (Department of Homeland Security) grant funds.

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