International intelligence and US government sources suggest that our nation faces the distinct possibility of a catastrophic terrorist attack using an improvised nuclear device (IND). This could result in tens of thousands of victims and overwhelm our public health, emergency response, and healthcare system, not to mention create unprecedented social and economic challenges. While preparing for an IND may seem futile, thousands of lives can be saved by informed planning and decision-making prior to and following an incident. Recently, significant attention has been paid to the effects of an IND and the response issues in the immediate area of the detonation, but neighboring communities, as well as regional and national receiving cities, will also be deeply impacted by an unparalleled number of evacuees requiring medical care, shelter resources, and general support.
Though relatively robust federal guidance exists regarding local response to an IND event, planning and resource limitations prevent easy translation to operational plans at the state and local level. Additionally, many jurisdictions are unaware of the magnitude of the evacuation influx and medical surge they may experience due to their proximity to the detonation; and do not realize the planning implications for this type of event. The indirect effect of tens of thousands of displaced victims from this type of incident will require dedicated command, control and resource capabilities from across the region and the nation to affect a successful response. In collaboration with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), this workshop will identify specific challenges and potential solutions for key response requirements faced by public health and healthcare systems in the regional response to an IND detonation.