DHHS releases 4th Gen. CWA on Chemm
a federal interagency working group to identify and develop resources to help the emergency response community prepare for and respond to a fourth generation agent incident if one ever occurs in the U.S., as well as support the development of specific guidance and training to enhance overall preparedness efforts. These resources meet the needs of U.S. emergency response professionals who sought to learn more about the agent used in the U.K. and how to protect themselves and respond if such incidents ever occur in their communities.Fourth generation agents, also known as Novichoks or A-series nerve agents, belong to a category of chemical warfare agents that are unique organophosphorus compounds. They are more persistent than other nerve agents and are at least as toxic as VX. While fourth generation agents share similar characteristics with other nerve agents, fourth generation agents also pose several unique challenges in terms of toxicity, detection, persistence, and potential for delayed onset of symptoms. The following resources were developed to address these characteristics and challenges and provide tailored guidance to various segments of the emergency response community.
Safety Awareness for First On Scene Responders Bulletin: Designed to educate and prepare first responders for situations when law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel are first to arrive on scene and initially may be unaware that a fourth generation agent is present. This bulletin will assist departments and agencies develop specific guidance and training to enhance overall preparedness efforts.
Reference Guide: Designed to educate and prepare hazardous materials (HAZMAT) response teams, the guide includes chemical and physical properties of fourth generation agents, as well as detection, firefighting, personal protective equipment, and decontamination recommendations for situations when responding to a known or suspected fourth generation agent incident. This guide will assist HAZMAT response teams develop specific guidance and training to enhance overall preparedness efforts.
Medical Management Guidelines – Designed to educate and prepare fire, EMS, and hospital staff and guide the medical management of patients exposed or potentially exposed to a fourth generation agent.