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Killen is a city in Bell County Texas. Its population was estimated at 127,921 in the year 2011. It is directly adjacent to Fort Hood and as such its economy heavily depends on the soldiers and their families stationed there. It obtains it power supply from various privately owned electricity companies such as TXU Energy and Direct Energy among others. The city is served by two municipal civil service departments, the Killen Fire Department and the Killen Police Department. In light of the growing terrorist activities around the globe, there is need to highlight the vulnerability of Killen City to such attacks especially the Fort Hood Military Post and the power supply facilities.
Potential Targets and Decontamination.
The Fort Hood Military Post is termed to be one of the largest active duty armored military posts in the United States Armed Services. It comprises of new housing, quality public health facilities, outstanding recreation facilities and schools thereby making it to be among the most sought after places to live in .This is the main reason that puts it as the most important target if Killen City was to be hit by a terrorist attack. Additional fact is that the main cantonment has a population of over 53, 416 people. Therefore hitting it would cause destruction of a great amount of public resources and loss of life. A chemical attack would be the most suitable form of attack since a bomb wouldn’t go undetected with the security features in place in any case it would be hard to smuggle it into the cantonme
The post houses a very vital defense force for the United States therefore a terrorist attack on the same would mean a substantial incapacitation of the armed force whose effect would be that the whole state would be very much vulnerable to planned attacks due to the reduction in resources in terms of armor and manpower. If the facility was to be hit by a chemical attack then immediate decontamination would have to take effect in order to reduce possible causalities.
Power is a very essential commodity for day to day activities to go on. Cutting off a city’s power supply would mean that economic activities such as businesses and manufacturing activities will come to a stop and that has an adverse effect on the overall economy of the state and country at large. Security issues also will come to light since most security systems rely on electricity therefore cutting off power supply in absence of proper power back up features would mean an increase in crime rate. A chemical terrorist attack on a power supply base wouldn’t have a direct effect on the power transmission infrastructure but would do harm to the staff present and working in the facility. This would be a good target since a city in darkness would give them more room to launch more attacks due to the reduced security level. Equipment which requires constant monitoring will also pose a challenge since abandonment would trigger off electrical faults which in most cases result in fires. Even though Killen City is served by many companies, hitting the major ones such as TXU Energy would leave many households in total darkness.
Decontamination basically is the reduction, removal or neutralization of chemical agents or hazards from the environment, property or living things. It may be done by use of physical means, chemical neutralization and or detoxification. In living things especially human beings, the eyes, skin and wounds all take the highest priority as far as decontamination is concerned.
In the case of Fort Hood and the power supply facility, the process of decontamination shall take the three basic steps i.e. gross decontamination, secondary decontamination and definitive decontamination. Under gross decontamination, causalities shall be evicted from high-risk areas with high priority being given to those who require the most assistance like the disabled. A central point or several points are selected to be decontamination sites. The exposed clothes are removed and they are thoroughly rinsed head- to- toe with water for about a minute.
Secondary decontamination shall include a quick body rinse with water and then washing the exposed with a cleaning solution such as Sodium Hypochlorite which is an effective decontamination solution especially for chemical and biological exposure cases. This is followed by the definitive contamination which involves performing a head-to-toe wash until clean then thorough rinsing with water. The victim is then dried and allowed to put on fresh clean clothes.
The other emergency steps for Fort Hood is to ensure that if there was any spying attempt it should be immediately cut out by covering all critical areas with the Killen Police Department personnel in addition to the recovered Army personnel until when better resources are availed. For the case of the power supply facility, any subsequent fire would require immediate response by the Killen Fire Department and incase of water shortage, it would be unwise to search for the nearest water bodies while the option of getting some from the city water supply is available. This should be utilized in order to contain the fire in the shortest time possible.
Research by Franco and Bouri (2010), suggested that decontamination of the environment is also the most important step to undertake in order to safeguard the life of future generations that will inhabit the place. This is done by cleaning contaminated surfaces such as buildings, air, water, vehicles et al. First, samples will be collected from the scene, tested and analyzed either on the scene or in laboratory in order to identify the type of chemical that was used in the attack. The second phase will involve assessment of the risks associated with the attack including possibility of it spreading to others areas. This helps to determine the method of decontamination to be used and the time frame. The third phase will be decontamination of the environment by use of selected techniques and technologies. The area will be re-inhabited once it is clear there are no more traces of chemical substances. This is ensured through a further sampling and testing procedure.
With the growing use of chemical agents by terrorist groups such as the use of the anthrax virus in the U.S postal system has created the awareness for our government to be prepared just in case such an act is repeated. Much cannot be done to avoid a chemical attack but emphasis should be put on decontamination measures and treatment of the affected in case it happens. Mass decontamination of the affected people is needed to prevent death by use of agents such as ammonia in hydrogen cyanide poisoning and also decontamination of the environment by through neutralization processes effected by spraying agents such as chlorine on the contaminated regions.