On average, Americans do not have to worry about a nuclear reactor spill, bomb explosion, or other radiation exposure emergencies. In the event of such an incident we as Americans can safely rely on the capabilities of others to take care of the situation. Christina Peace, a master’s student in the Health Science department at Purdue is just one individual responsible for creating such a safe state of mind. She has researched the necessary steps in securing safety in the event of exposure to radiation. In Peace’s guidebook, Radiation and Emergency Response Guidebook, she dissects each layer of management and explains their responsibilities.
Upper management is involved in detailing what to do. These are the people that communicate with the politicians to recruit more help for the situation. They are also responsible for being the figurehead of the situation; the person news media and public can direct their questions toward.
Middle management holds the title as being the key component of any emergency response. These are the people that handle payments to hire specialist contractors, contact hospitals if medical assistance is necessary, and send out ground crews to examine the scene and report back details of the situation. In addition to these responsibilities they are responsible to convey messages back and forth between upper and lower management crews. It is in the middle management layer that we find the leader. The leader oversees the entire situation and communicates to upper management. This is the person that knows all of the ins and outs of the situation. In designating a single person to deliver messages between the two groups it eliminates the problem of conflicting stories.
The most visible of any emergency situation are lower management. They compile the group of experts. These are the medics, firefighters, specialists, bomb squad crews, and industrial hygienists. They know how to clean up the situation and work on the physical components of the exposed materials.
In addition to these necessary layers outlined within the protocol we find the who, what and where for radiation transport. Radiation exposure is not the same in any given situation. Physical characteristics may be different and so it is handled according to the circumstance. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, most places in the United States have been trained in response to radiation exposure. If a given area finds itself without the necessary resources to handle the situation the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will come in. More specialized radiation teams, like REAC/TS (Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site), can be called into the situation.
As this article shows, communication and order of operations is essential to have in place when dealing with any problematic situation. These guidelines are established to avoid problems and to help regain control of an incident. “Communication is always a potential problem. People will learn to overcome adversity in the face of solving problems, it is what’s necessary to help the population to dissolve the issue at hand,” stated by Christina Peace.