Training is key to safely broadening Fire Service remit: with the changing threats that we face, fire personnel need to be trained in whole new areas. In short they need to understand the skills necessary to respond to terrorism threats or incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) agents.

Increasing awareness of the dangers to public safety posed by weapons of mass destruction has led to a need for executives, managers, health and safety professionals as well as first responders to learn the appropriate response methods to such events. Although most believe that the majority of casualties resulting from a terrorist incident involving weapons of mass destruction will likely occur within the first ten to 20 minutes, the reality is that the effects of most CBR agents may be present for a period of hours or weeks. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the entire response community and particularly those likely to be first at the scene to have the training necessary to minimise the number and severity of casualties--the most important of these being the Fire Service.

September 11 reminded the world that we are all--even the most powerful of nations--vulnerable to terrorist attacks. In recent months, the threats the UK specifically faces have been brought into sharp relief and terrorism will be a recurring theme in the UK throughout 2005, with events such as the general election set to raise the alert status within the country. …

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