Washington, DC – The White House National Security Council has launched a federal interagency working group to develop the resources after a 2018 incident involving a fourth generation agent (FGA) in the United Kingdom.
The purpose is 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, are described as chemical warfare agents that are unique organophosphorus compounds. They are more persistent than other nerve agents.
Organophosphorus compounds are used primarily in pest control as an alternative to chlorinated hydrocarbons that persist in the environment. Some organophosphorus compounds are highly effective insecticides, although some are extremely toxic to man, including sarin and VX nerve agents.
The National Guard WMD-Civil Support Teams (WMD-CSTs) possess unique training and have specialized U.S. government fielded equipment to perform field identification to assist local and state responders.
Your state Emergency Operations Center can contact the WMD-CSTs if you suspect a nerve agent release.
The NSC developed the following resources to “provide tailored guidance to various segments of the emergency response community.”
- Safety Awareness for First On-Scene Responders Bulletin: Designed to educate responders for situations when they are the first on scene and may be unaware of a present fourth generation agent;
- Reference Guide: Designed to educate HAZMAT teams; and
- Medical Management Guidelines: Designed to guide the medical management of exposed patients.