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Fire and fear: Immediate and long-term health aspects 

Fire and fear: Immediate and long-term health aspects

Fire and fear: Immediate and long-term health aspects

Laura Mitchem

, Henrietta Harrison

, and Alex G. Stewart

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date: 26 June 2017

Fires can cause significant health concerns within local communities impacted by any associated smoke plume. This chapter discusses the potential public health concerns associated with fires, in particular fires at waste-processing installations. Using an example scenario, actions to be undertaken throughout the incident response, from initial acute phase to recovery, are considered, along with health concerns and fears, real or perceived, involvement of asbestos-contaminant material, multi-agency communication mechanisms, and potential issues associated with long-running fires. The multi-agency mechanisms for response are detailed, including the various coordinating groups (strategic, tactical, recovery coordinating groups (SCG, TCG, RCG, respectively), and expert cells (scientific and technical advisor cell, air quality cell (AQC)). Key points to note in the incident response include concerns raised by the local population, typical health effects associated with exposure to a smoke plume, and tools that support the response to the incident and the public health risk assessment.

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