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The Nation | IN BRIEF

20,000 'Escape Hoods' Delivered to Capitol

June 27, 2002|From Times Staff Report

WASHINGTON, D.C.

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Homeland security became more than an abstract concept this week with the delivery of 20,000 "escape hoods"--enough to protect every lawmaker, congressional employee, police officer and tourist from a chemical or biological attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Congressional staffers, some of whom were shut out of their offices for more than three months after last fall's anthrax attacks, on Monday will begin learning how to use the loose-fitting respirator hoods.

Capitol Police officials said they did not buy the devices--at about $100 each--because of a specific terrorist threat. Nor is the timing of training sessions next week related to vague threats of terrorist attacks on or around the Fourth of July, they said.

Having the gear on hand--the hoods will be stored throughout the Capitol complex--is a prudent, protective measure, they said.

The State and Energy departments, as well as the Supreme Court police, the National Institutes of Health, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and all branches of the military also have purchased the devices from Survivair, a Santa Ana-based company.

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