American Military UniversitySpecial Operation in Emergency Medical ServicesResearch PaperStefanie WashingtonPBHE413 I002 Sum 15Dr. Robert Carter20 September 2015
Sarin GasI have chosen to conduct my research on a chemical attack against the United States and the emergency response to such attack. Chemical terrorism could pose a great threat to the United States and could come without a warning. Using toxic compounds by terrorists could have immediate and long-term effects not just on the population, but also on animals and plants. In my scenario, I would place myself in the role of a terrorist using Sarin gas as the chemical agent. Sarin gas is defined by Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent” (CDC 2013). Chemical weapons are “extremely toxic synthetic chemicals” which can be disseminated as a “gas, liquid or aerosol” (Ganesan, K., S. Raza, and R. Vijayaraghavan 2010). There are seven classification of chemical weapons: “nerve agents, blistering agents, cyanogenic agents, pulmonary agents, tear gases, psychomimetic agents and toxins” (Ganesan, K., S. Raza, and R. Vijayaraghavan, 2010).Sarin gas is a human-made chemical warfare agent and classified as a nerve agent. It is commonly found in insecticides and could be easily used as a chemical weapon. Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents. Historically, Sarin was developed by a German scientist, Gerhart Schrader, by accident, where Schrader was attempting to make insecticides from organophosphate compounds; however, the chemical created caused massive disruption to the nervous system immediately (Sample, 2013).The most famous sarin gas incident happened in 1995. Terrorists of the Aum Shinriko Cult used a chemical warfare agent against a civilian population in Tokyo, Japan. Sarin was released in the subway system killing at least 12 and leaving 5500 with needing medical care (Slidell, n.d.).
Sarin GasThe more recent chemical attack in 2013 by the Syrian government against their own people was a real eye opener, not just to us here in the U.S., but to all citizens of the world. Disturbing videos were showing hundreds of men, women, and children suffering from convulsions and other signs of a mass poisoning was disturbing to all of us in one way or another. The attackers in Syria had “access to the chemical weapons stockpile, as well as the expertise and equipment necessary to manipulate safely large amount of chemical agents” (Chulov 2014). Even in most recent reports, United Nations have confirmed that the terrorist group Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) have seized the chemical weapon depot in Iraq and Libya. The UN inspectors reported that in one bunker alone at the chemical weapon depot in Iraq, approximately 2500 Sarin filled chemical rockets were stored (Hutchinson, 2014).
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- Chemical warfare, Sarin, Nerve agent, sarin gas, Chemical Weapons Convention