Emergency responders feel inadequately protected against the dangers of chemical, biological and radiological terrorist attacks, according to a recent NIOSH-funded study by the RAND Science and Technology Policy Institute.

The study is based on interviews with 190 first responders from 83 organizations across the United States. Collectively, the emergency responders interviewed agreed that measures can be taken to reduce these risks, including:

  • Protective equipment that meets the emergency responders' operational needs;
  • Improved equipment that detects and monitors hazards;
  • Equipment appropriate for non-specialist responders;
  • Better integrated communications equipment;
  • Enhanced communication systems;
  • Improved ways to handle, inventory, maintain and effectively use and deploy equipment at disaster scenes;
  • More information on field performance of protective equipment.

NIOSH is helping to disseminate the report to inform stakeholders and to guide its own program for research on personal protective equipment and other protective measures. To view the full report, go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/randrpts.html.