Here’s a news flash that isn’t fake. There are people in this world who want to hurt us. Well, us and anyone else they manage to get in their sights. And, as we’ve seen all across the world, those bad folks use a variety of means to carry out their deadly missions—explosives, vehicles, gunfire, knives, etc.
While different, those instruments of death all have one thing in common—each is visible with the naked eye. Therefore, we can at least see those things. But what if we couldn’t? Suppose cars and knives and guns were all invisible and we had no means of detecting their presence? What if an invisible weapon existed, one capable of killing thousands all in a single act? Okay, and as Amazon’s Alexa would say, “Here’s your flash briefing.” There are indeed extremely powerful invisible weapons—biological agents—that can kill thousands upon thousands of people. Millions, even.
We provide extra gear for our police and military, equipment designed to keep them safe and to help conduct the arrest of armed, dangerous bad guys. We install barriers to prevent vehicle attacks on public buildings. We have radar and aircraft designed to defend the country against missile attacks. Our navy stands watch in the sea. Police and military and private citizens and corporations all train officers, agents, soldiers, family members, and employees in ways to protect against violent attack (active shooters, etc.).
But what about the invisible killers, the things capable killing entire populations—every single man, woman, child, and animal—of towns, cities, counties, and possibly an entire state and beyond? What have we done to safeguard against something as deadly as a bioterrorism attack?
Fortunately, there’s BioWatch, the early-warning detection system that constantly “sniffs” the air to detect the release of biological agents. Managed by the Office of Health Affairs/Department of Homeland Security, BioWatch, a network of over 30 jurisdictions across the U.S., receives support from other federal agencies, scientists, laboratory techs, public health officials, state and local authorities, and emergency managers.
Air sensors/monitors/collectors are positioned in various locations throughout the 30+ jurisdictions (these jurisdictions are made up of numerous towns, cities, and counties within a specific area). Scientists monitor the collectors, and they collect and analyze samples collected in the filters.
BioWatch collectors are positioned on sidewalks (attached to utility poles and other stationary items). They’re also in airports, bus stations, sporting areas, and other such areas.
Should a biological agent be detected at one of the sensors, the alert system is activated and authorities are immediately notified. Life-saving measures are then to be set in motion, such as supplying each citizen with a proper antidote.