Medical Disaster Preparedness and Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) Operations (Chapter 23) [open pdf - 132KB]
On October 23, 1983, the terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut took the lives of 241 U.S. military personnel and wounded 112 others. This terrorist action severely stressed the peacetime military health care system in Europe and directed worldwide attention to the ability of our armed forces to respond to a wartime medical contingency. A major emergency affecting a large number of people may occur anytime and anywhere. Whether a peacetime disaster or an enemy attack, lives can be saved if one is prepared for either contingency. To do this requires one to be ready by planning and preparing for just such an event. Planning requires an awareness of: the range of disasters which can occur, possible preventive measures, types of injuries, measures to prevent further casualties, and special problems and requirements. The principles of disaster management may be summarized as follows: a. Prevent the occurrence, b. Minimize the number of casualties, c. Prevent further casualties, d. Rescue, e. Provide first aid, f. Evacuate the injured, g. Provide definitive care, h. Facilitate reconstruction-recovery. The intent of this chapter is to provide the field flight surgeon an updated information resource on the planning, operations, and readiness of disaster preparedness within the Air Force. It will cover primarily operations involving nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons. The flight surgeon will know where to find specific information from Air Force regulations, manuals, pamphlets, and technical orders. Additionally, certain Army publications will be included. Another chapter will cover specific personnel, equipment, and planning issues in remote environments and should be used in conjunction with this chapter.