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Radiation Threats and Your Safety: A Guide to Preparation and Response for Professionals and Community

2009 Edition, October 23, 2009

Complete Document

Detail Summary

Active, Most Current

Additional Comments:
ISBN: 978-1-4200-8361-3
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2009 Edition, October 23, 2009
  • Published Date: October 23, 2009
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 344
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


Several years ago, before the advent of Internet shopping, I bought an old issue of Life magazine from a shopping mall kiosk in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was the September 15, 1961, issue and had a picture of a man in a "civilian fallout suit" on the cover with the title "How You Can Survive Fallout." I browsed through the magazine thinking that it represented an era that we had moved beyond. I had no idea that the events occurring exactly 40 years after publication of this particular issue would launch another era during which, once again, we would be concerned about this possibility. Also, I had no idea at the time that I would be spending the second half of my career working on nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response issues, part of which entails lecturing and conducting training workshops across the country. It was through these interactions with a broad spectrum of professionals and community members that I realized that an information gap had not been addressed, even though an enormous amount of information was available.

There has been an explosion of information on the subject of radiation emergencies and related issues in the scientific and technical literature. Multitudes of radiation textbooks ably serve professionals in their respective medical and technical fields. State, federal, and international agencies have created numerous guidance and planning documents, and some of that information keeps changing as new plans are drawn and new terminologies and acronyms are created. Also, numerous fact sheets and information pages on radiation and radioactivity, radiation drugs, and other emergency response issues can be found on governmental and nongovernmental Web sites. Finally, an aspect of commercialism offers information to private citizens as well as government consumers.

Although this vast body of information is valuable and, for the most part, serves the intended purpose, much of it is too detailed or too technical, tailored for specific audiences, or simply too dispersed. Consumers of information who are new to the radiation arena have to sift through a lot of material to find what is important or applicable to them. They are likely to be overwhelmed with information or not get enough of what they need.

My goal in writing this book is to bring together, in a concise way, essential, need-to-know, and practical information about radiation threats in an approachable form and content. The book is written for discerning members of the general public who do not aspire to become radiation experts, but they desire more than just a superficial knowledge of the subject; those who need to understand the "why" so that they can use and apply the information. Resiliency of the public at large is dependent on what they know about radiation and how well they can put information and instructions from emergency response and public health authorities into context.

The book is also written for professionals in various fields of expertise who are new to the subject of radiation and who may be called upon to serve in a radiation emergency and apply their specific knowledge and skills under those circumstances. These include emergency management and emergency response professionals, hospital staff, and environmental health, mental health, and other public health professionals. These professionals need to understand the radiation threat beyond what they may learn from a generic "all hazards" or weapons of mass destruction training.

Last, but certainly not least, this book's coverage recognizes that, regardless of our professional backgrounds, concerns for our families' well-being as well as our own safety will affect our response to a radiation emergency, how well we do our jobs, and how we help our neighbors and communities.

I knew that writing a book such as this for a broad audience would be challenging. I hope that I achieved some measure of success in providing this information in a way that is helpful for the intended audience. This book is not intended to teach basic radiation science and theory to students of the field. However, it can be used in a public health or general science curriculum, or portions of it can be used to develop radiation awareness training for specific audiences. All of it is written in a suitable format for self-study.

I need to thank many individuals. Luna Han, my senior editor at Taylor & Francis, shared the vision for this book from the beginning, guided me in the process of preparing the proposal, and provided valuable feedback throughout. I thank Jill Jurgensen and Judith Simon at Taylor & Francis for their assistance in the final editing and production process. My thanks to Charles Miller, Robert Whitcomb, and my management at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their support. I undertook this task, however, in my private capacity and outside my official CDC duties. Therefore, I bear sole responsibility for the material in this book. Any opinions expressed are mine alone (and not those of the CDC). I also have no direct financial interest in any product mentioned in the book.

I have benefited from collaboration and discussions with many friends and colleagues in various organizations. I especially thank my colleagues who took time to review various portions of the manuscript and provide valuable comments. In particular, I am indebted to Anthony Moulton, Amy J. Guinn, and Jeffrey Nemhauser, whose input certainly made this book much better than it would have been without their generous help.

I am immensely grateful to my wife, Elham, who encouraged me constantly, provided me with quiet weekends, served as my sounding board, reviewed early drafts of each chapter, chased down owners of photographs, and, most important of all, handled the lion's share of parenting while the book was written. I could not have completed this work without her. I also thank my parents, Mohammad and Anice, who instilled in me the love of learning and showed me the importance of going the extra mile. Finally, I thank my children, Armon and Kiana, who were so patient with their constantly working dad. I hope that their generation and others to follow will not have to be concerned with radiation threats, but instead will continue to harness the amazing power and promise of nuclear radiation for the betterment of their lives.