CBRN / HazMat Training Blog

Argon releases the Handheld Radiation Monitor Simulator (HRM-SIM)

Written by Steven Pike on 22 October 2021


A huge hurdle to giving military personnel and emergency first responders radiation training is accurately and realistically simulating a radiological emergency.

Providing the most realistic radiation detection training

While the radiation-detection equipment is relatively simple to use, instructors must teach students how to understand the significance of their detector readings and to recognise changes in units of measurement. This is easy enough in a classroom setting, but effectively using devices such as the Handheld Radiation Monitor made by Sensor Technology Engineering, becomes increasingly problematic in a real-life emergency when you factor in the associated stress, confusion and importance of ensuring hidden sources are not missed. 

Suppose instructors only teach emergency responders how devices work without providing them with in-the-field training. In that case, they will be unable to assess their decision-making, stress management, and operational efficiency skills. However, using actual radiological sources is, for obvious reasons, riddled with problems for human health and the environment and of course very expensive.

CBRNe and HazMat instructors across the globe are faced with the problem of wanting to provide realistic training scenarios that replicate the invisible threat of radiation but in a safe environment. 

The role of radiation hazard simulation training

An electronic simulator is a computer-based simulation device that is the closest possible replica to the original device. Using simulators allows instructors to take advantage of every operational feature of an actual detector, which means they can create incredibly realistic training scenarios with zero risk to humans and the environment.

Electronic simulators can be used both indoors and outdoors to provide emergency responders with the most realistic training possible. Using simulators also offers additional advantages as they remove the costly and time-consuming administrative effort normally associated with the transport, deployment, and safe handling of radiological sources.

Argon’s HRM-SIM

Argon Electronics is proud to have launched a training simulator for the Handheld Radiation Monitor (HRM), made by Sensor Technology Engineering. Thanks to the close partnership between the two companies, the look, feel, and response of the HRM-SIM is remarkably similar to the actual detector.  

The HRM-SIM replicates the self-contained gamma ray and thermo neutron radiation detector for use in the interdiction and localisation of nuclear materials. Moreover, the SIM is powered by the same commercial batteries as the actual detector, the operational life of which is typically 80 hours. Even the effect of user body shielding to determine source position is realistically simulated, which ensures survey teams understand what to do in the event of an emergency.

Additional benefits of the HRM-SIM

No preventative maintenance, calibration, or consumables (except batteries) are required, ensuring the whole life cost of ownership is minimal. Additionally, the HRM-SIM is compatible with PlumeSIM, Argon’s proven Live Field and Tabletop CBRN exercise system.

The HRM-SIM’s key simulation features include:

  • Inverse square law (1/r2) response within real detector tolerance

  • Simulation of user body shielding for source location

  • Realistic representation of different shielding effects

  • Gamma, Neutron and Gamma + Neutron indications

  • Same human interface as real HRM

  • Sounder and vibrate alert simulation

  • Dose and dose rate alarm settings

  • Same batteries as real detector (80 hours operation)

  • No regular calibration

  • No preventative maintenance

  • PlumeSIM compatible

  • Compatible with other Argon radiological simulators

Realistic training with the HRM-SIM

Argon’s HRM-SIM is for operators who need to quickly and discreetly detect and locate a threat device or radiological materials in an unpredictable radiation background. 

All user interface components are exactly the same as the real detector to ensure the ultimate training experience. The response speed and characteristics are very similar to the real detector, which allows realistic source search/find training to be carried out. Additionally, the HRM-SIM’s simulated delivered sensitivity enables it to detect the RadSim-GS4 simulation Gamma/Neutron source at a free space distance of typically 160 feet (50 metres) distance line of sight.

The HRM-SIM’s powerful proprietary signal processing ensures that: 

  • Simulated readings are repeatable each time students revisit the same scenario location
  • The readings observed on different simulators are within the accepted tolerances of actual detectors

Both these factors contribute to the HRM-SIM offering a highly realistic approach to radiation training that will ensure your personnel are knowledgeable and confident when faced with radiological emergencies in the field.

Essential features of a radiation simulator

An electronic radiation simulator is a vital piece of CBRNe and Hazmat training equipment that ensures personnel are thoroughly prepared for real-life radiation incidents.

A correctly designed simulator, such as the HRM-SIM, should be a tool to help instructors design the best training environment possible. Several features of a well-designed simulator include:

  • Authentically replicating the appearance, functionality, and display of a real device

  • Enabling trainees to experience all operational features

  • Requiring no preventative maintenance or recalibration

  • Removing the potential for unnecessary and expensive damage to actual detectors

  • Offering compatibility with other key instrumentation 

Getting in touch with Argon Electronics

Argon has an extensive and fully compatible range of radiation simulators available to enhance your radiation hazard simulation training sessions. To learn more about how simulators and simulator training can aid your existing CBRNe and HazMat instruction programmes, please feel free to contact us.

Gamma radiation using simulators

Topics: Radiation Hazard Training, Product Launch

Steven Pike

Written by Steven Pike

Steven Pike is the Founder and Managing Director of Argon Electronics (UK) Ltd. A graduate of the University of Hertfordshire, Steven has been awarded a number of international patents relating to the field of hazardous material training systems and technology.