Reopening Public Facilities after a Biological Attack: A Decision Making Framework

The impact of bioterrorism was brought home to the American public in the fall of 2001. Although there had been earlier instances of bioterrorism, as well as threats and hoaxes in recent years in Japan and the United States, the juxtaposition of the biological attacks of 2001 to the events of September 11, and the use of highly lethal preparations of anthrax, had a profound effect on the national psyche. Private and government facilities alike were affected, and considerable challenges were encountered in the process of cleaning up the affected facilities. The decontamination efforts were heavily publicized, time consuming, and very expensive. Sampling and decontamination approaches and parameters had to be decided upon very quickly. Plans had to satisfy scientific criteria to show that individuals reentering the area would not become infected and, as important, address the concerns and fears of people who used the facilities. Eventually, all of the public and private facilities were successfully decontaminated (although there was a considerable delay, caused by financial concerns, in the cleanup of one private site). However, given the urgency, and lack of preparedness with which decisions were made in 2001 and 2002, it seemed likely that the process could be improved with advance planning. This study was requested to help provide a framework for the restoration of contaminated facilities should it be necessary in the future. Specifically, the study was undertaken to consider the question of "How clean is Safe?" and to address the criteria that must be satisfied to determine that the site of a biological attack is fit to use again. The study focuses on large buildings, such as airports, and does not consider outdoor contamination. This report contains 12 chapters, as follows: 1. Introduction; 2. Infectious Disease Threats; 3. Policy Precedents in Decontamination; 4. Anthrax Decontamination after the 2001 Attacks - Social and Political Context; 5. Framework for Event Management; 6. Hazard Identification and Assessment; 7. Factors Influencing Exposure to Harmful Biological Agents in Indoor Environments; 8. Analyzing Health Risks; 9. Sampling Strategies and Technologies; 10. Decontamination Practices and Principles; 11. Safe Reoccupation of a Facility; and 12. Harmful Biological Agents in a Public Facility - the Airport Scenario.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 223p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01004473
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309096618
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 21 2005 12:43PM