CDC CHEMPACKs available after an airborne terror attack

CDC CHEMPACKs are located strategically across the U.S. to help emergency personnel, including firefighters, respond to an airborne terror attack. | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Airborne terror attacks aren't just a hypothetical scenario, and being prepared for a possible attack is key to more people surviving, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said.

The CDC's Strategic National Stockpile CHEMPACK program contains nerve-agent antidotes that can work on a variety of possible airborne attacks, even if the exact agent isn't known to first-responders. The CDC has 1,960 CHEMPACKs at more than 1,340 locations -- mostly in hospitals and fire stations -- in every state, island, territory and Washington, D.C.

“More than 90 percent of the U.S. population is within one hour of a CHEMPACK location, and if hospitals or first-responders need them, they can be accessed quickly,” the CDC said. “The delivery time ranges from within a few minutes to less than two hours.”

The CDC CHEMPACKs would be useful in emergencies such as when terrorists launched attacks in Japan in 1994 and 1995, killing 20 people.

“Experts agree that these attacks were amateurish and that a better-timed and -executed attack could have killed many more people,” the CDC said.

The CDC coordinates with a limited supply of manufacturers to maintain the stockpile of CHEMPACKs, and the antidotes are tested regularly for potency. Even though it is challenging, the CDC said it is necessary to ensure that the antidotes are readily available to first-responders.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1600 Clifton Rd Atlanta, GA 30329

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