Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

I recently served as a controller for an exercise up in New England.  This was a combined exercise based on the dispersion of Anthrax.  This in itself makes it a terrorist incident.  Present at the exercise were fire, EMS, Hospitals, Emergency Management???and one lone policeman.

Unfortunately this is not an exception but pretty much the rule when it comes to exercises, law enforcement just doesn?t show up most of the time. Although in most every case, the training of our law enforcement officers is the highest anywhere, the h*** that is left by their absence in these types of exercises will surely be felt in the event of a real incident. When we have an incident, we are all only as strong as our weakest link. In the case of Anthrax, it becomes a public health incident as well as a criminal incident and he way it is handled and investigated can put the lives of a lot of people in jeopardy real quick.

The investigation of an incident of this type originates in public health. The symptoms of an Anthrax incident are unfortunately the same as that of the flu and the real problem may go undetected until the right test is performed in a lab. Without this treatment will be lacking and there is only a 48 hour window for detection and treatment. Once the actual anthrax problem is discovered and based on the number of patients involved, law enforcement needs to be brought in. Investigation of this type of infection is carried out by public health investigators called Epidemiologists.  Law enforcement should work very closely with these folks so that the right questions are asked of the right people and they should only be asked once.  This all takes training and coordination, use of ICS on both sides and the absence of turf battles.  Let?s hope the next time there is a little better participation.

Views: 149


You need to be a member of Fire Engineering Training Community to add comments!

Join Fire Engineering Training Community

Comment by Bobby Halton on April 17, 2011 at 1:36pm

Rob, do you know they were contacted, any explainations why they didnt show?


Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our community policy page.  

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2023   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service