Nation's EMT workers say they are unprepared for CBRN attack

A recent nationwide survey showed that emergency medical technicians feel underprepared and ill equipped to handle chemical, biological or radiological disasters.

The survey, which was conducted by Meridian Medical Technologies Inc., showed that 72 percent of EMT’s are slightly to very concerned that a major terrorist attack will occur within the next three years, reports.

Approximately 42 percent of EMT’s surveyed said that they have received recurring training in responding to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks or attacks from explosive devices.
Approximately 49 percent, however, said that they think it’s likely that a terrorist attack involving the release of a chemical nerve agent could happen in the next three years, according to

Dr. Joe Nelson, the state emergency medical services medical director for Florida, told that the results of the survey point to what could be a serious dilemma.

“The survey results demonstrate a possible lack of preparedness among our nation’s first responders in their ability to respond to chemical, biological or radiological disasters,” Nelson told “Despite concerns about the potential for a CBRNE accident or terrorist attack, many EMTs don’t seem to be getting the training, equipment, medications and antidotes they need to protect themselves and treat victims.”

Tom Handel, the senior vice president of commercial pharmaceuticals for Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc., agreed.

“EMTs, in conjunction with local fire and police personnel, are the front line response in the event of a chemical disaster,” Handel told “Every minute counts, so it is imperative they are trained and equipped with protective gear and medications to protect themselves and treat others quickly and efficiently.”