- NEW YORK (UPI) - Preparing for a chemical or germ attack, New York City
has been buying germ detectors, making arrangements for emergency care
with regional hospitals and striking deals with drug companies to make
medicines available quickly in a crisis.
- Officials tell The New York Times that
the city began monitoring emergency room admissions two months ago to quickly
determine if an attack is under way. They say Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has
asked to be personally informed of any suspicious patterns.
- Although there has been no recent specific
threat of a germ or chemical attack, the city has also undertaken an extensive
training program that instructs 4,000 police officers and firefighters
how to handle such an emergency.
- According to The Times, about 1,500 doctors
and nurses in the Big Apple are scheduled for training by outside medical
experts in these techniques next week.
- Federal and local officials have become
increasingly worried about the possibility of germ and chemical attacks
in recent years, because of incidents like the World Trade Center bombing
and a religious cult's assault on Tokyo with nerve gas and germs.
- New York officials say they feel torn
between revealing their defensive preparations to reassure the public,
and panicking people with doomsday scenarios that in recent attack simulations
have easily overwhelmed the city's existing defenses.
- A sizable part of the $15 million New
York City has devoted to emergency preparations reportedly has been spent
on dealing with unconventional threats from terrorists. Five of the 50
people in the city's Office of Emergency Management work full time on this
- And recently it was revealed that the
city is planning to build a command bunker near the World Trade Center
which would be protected from germ and chemical attacks, as well as explosions.