Bio-Defense Network was instrumental in creating the St. Louis Regional Radiological Response Medical Reserve Corps in 2016 and securing several years’ worth of funding for its operation. The bi-state organization serves more than two million residents in 17 jurisdictions in Missouri and Illinois.
The organization has conducted several full-scale exercises to test the ability to quickly set up and operate a screening facility to determine who had been exposed to radiation, decontaminate those who were contaminated and to identify those who require further treatment. Such a capability is crucial to hospitals and other healthcare providers, who would otherwise be swamped with residents fearing contamination.
Potential sources of wide-spread radiological exposure may come from a variety of sources, including:
- Detonation of a ‘dirty bomb,’ which contains contaminated elements disbursed by a traditional explosive
- Radiological explosion
- Transportation accident
- Occupational accident
- Environmental exposure (such as from a landfill)
- Improvised nuclear device
Any of those methods could lead to the activation of a CRC, which requires staffing.
Bio-Defense Network played a key role in the continued planning of the St. Louis Regional group and supported similar efforts with the Harris County MRC in Texas, bringing a radiological response capability to the MRC that it previously lacked.
Bio-Defense Network’s principals are trained in responding to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Events and are prepared to provide guidance to public health departments, medical reserve corps units and healthcare coalitions in their planning.