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Date:1/25/2011

In the aftermath of a dirty bomb, hundreds or even thousands of victims could require medical attention. First responders conduct extensive training to prepare for such a cataclysmic event, but planning is difficult without a solid estimate of how many people could be injured.

The toll would be influenced by a number of variables. For example, the toll from a dirty bomb detonation would depend upon the population density at the explosion site and the components used in the explosive. To plan effective training scenarios and tabletop exercises, first responders need a simple way to estimate realistic casualty figures as a result of catastrophic events.

To provide first responders with this ability, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) continues to support the development of the Electronic Mass Casualty Assessment and Planning Scenarios (EMCAPS) software. Sponsored by the National Center for the Study of Preparedness & Catastrophic Event Response (PACER), a DHS Center of Excellence, an updated version of EMCAPS is scheduled for release in 2011. The state of Maryland provided some startup funding for the software program.

Johns Hopkins University Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory are responsible for the software's development. The current version was first released in 2005 and is available as a free download at www.pacercenter.org/pages/about_emcaps.aspx. The program allows first responders to customize nine scenarios for their geographic area and then estimate the number of likely casualties.

Researchers used high-consequence threat scenarios identified by DHS to incorporate into the software program. These include a pandemic flu outbreak, a chlorine gas release, a truck bomb, and inhalation anthrax exposure. The scenarios can be customized for different conditions. Thousands of people have ac
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Contact: John Verrico
john.verrico@dhs.gov
202-254-2385
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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