Role of Public Health in a Terrorism Incident

The Role of Public Health in a Nuclear or Radiological Terrorism Incident

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There are many things to consider when planning for a nuclear or radiological terrorist incident. First a basic understanding of radiation, how it works, the injury it may cause is vital. Secondly although a terrorism incident would be a rare event, there are other opportunities for a radiological disaster to occur. The preparation and response for both incidents are similar.

To plan appropriately, one needs to know the different potential methods for distribution of radiological material. One also needs to understand the risk to the responder as well as the best approach to personal protection and decontamination. Finally, it is important for Public Health to monitor the exposed population for potential long term effects from exposure.

By the end of this training, you will be prepared to begin a response plan in the event of a radiological or nuclear incident. The plan will encompass all phases of the Public Health response from first responder to population monitoring.


CEUs: 1.5 contact hours (0.15 CEUs) awarded upon successful completion



By the end of the Role of Public Health in a Nuclear or Radiological Terrorism Incident training, the learner will be able to:

  • Explain the basic principles of radiation
  • Describe potential terrorist scenarios
  • Explain population monitoring impact
  • Describe the planning process for public health prior to a radiological incident
  • Describe the initial response roles of public health in a radiological incident



Capability 7: Mass Care

Function 1: Determine public health role in mass care operations

Function 2: Determine mass care needs of the impacted population

Function 3: Coordinate public health, medical, and mental/behavioral health services

Function 4: Monitor mass care population health

 Capability 14: Responder Safety and Health

Function 1: Identify responder safety and health risks

Function 2: Identify safety and personal protective needs

Function 3: Coordinate with partners to facilitate risk-specific safety and health training

Function 4: Monitor responder safety and health actions


Model Leadership

1.1  Solve problems under emergency conditions

1.3 Facilitate collaboration with internal and external emergency response partners

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