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Rise of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: An Imminent Public Health Threat Mandating Counter-Terrorism Medicine Preparedness for Potential Mass-Casualty Attacks

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 August 2021

Derrick Tin*
Affiliation:
Senior Fellow, BIDMC Disaster Medicine Fellowship; Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MassachusettsUSA
Zachary Kallenborn
Affiliation:
Research Affiliate, Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division, START, University of Maryland; Policy Fellow, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, Fairfax, VirginiaUSA
Alexander Hart
Affiliation:
Director of Research, BIDMC Disaster Medicine Fellowship; Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Instructor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MassachusettsUSA
Attila J. Hertelendy
Affiliation:
Faculty, BIDMC Disaster Medicine Fellowship; Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MassachusettsUSA
Gregory R. Ciottone
Affiliation:
Director, BIDMC Disaster Medicine Fellowship; Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MassachusettsUSA
*
Correspondence: Derrick Tin, MBBS, Senior Fellow, BIDMC Disaster Medicine Fellowship, Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MassachusettsUSA. E-mail: derrick@alphazodiac.com

Abstract

The mass proliferation and increasing affordability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in recent years has given rise to weaponized UAV use by terrorists, leading to mounting and credible concerns this attack methodology will be the next terrorism modus operandi. Counter-Terrorism Medicine (CTM) specialists need to consider how UAVs alter or create new mass-casualty scenarios that can further exploit existing medical preparedness vulnerabilities. With an opportunity to be proactive in disaster prevention, mitigation, and preparedness, it is imperative this gathering storm be acknowledged and stakeholders explore how best to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the consequences of UAV incidents.

Type
Special Report
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine

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