Washington, D.C., Fire and EMS Department Orders Bioterrorism Detection and Training Kits

The kits are capable of spot detection of anthrax, ricin toxin, botulinum toxin, plague and SEBs.

by / December 12, 2008

Washington, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) has purchased five-agent bioterrorism detection kits from Universal Detection Technology. The kits are capable of spot detection of anthrax, ricin toxin, botulinum toxin, plague, and SEBs. The purchase order also includes kits that help train first responders in identitfying suspicious powders and handling them appropriately.

The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS) is an all-hazards agency providing emergency medical care and transportation (EMS), fire prevention, fire suppression, hazardous material response, and technical rescue services to residents and visitors in the District of Columbia. FEMS resources are deployed from 33 neighborhood fire stations and include 37 EMS transport units, 33 engine companies, 16 ladder trucks, three heavy-rescue squads, one hazardous materials unit, and one fire Boat Company. Seventeen of these transport units and 19 of these engine companies are staffed by paramedics providing advanced life support (ALS) care. FEMS responds to over 150,000 incidents a year, an average of 421 a day. FEMS also provides protection for special events that are unique to the nation's capital, such as major demonstrations and the upcoming Presidential Inauguration. In addition, FEMS provides fire and medical protection for Presidential motorcades and helicopter landings.

A report released earlier this month by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism said urgent security measures need to be taken soon or the world is likely to undergo an incident of terrorism using weapons of mass destruction within the next five years. "Unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013," the report states in the opening sentence of the executive summary. The report also emphasizes the need of the new administration to prepare the nation against a future bioterrorist attack.

UNDT's anthrax detection equipment has been extensively used by first responders and private industry throughout the country. The equipment has been evaluated by the U.S. DOD as well as the United Kingdom military. The equipment's capacities include:

  • No cross-reactivity with near neighbor strains
  • No cross-reactivity to household powders
  • No set up time
  • No expensive reader needed
  • No decontamination requirements
  • No false positives
  • No false negatives
  • No hook effect