If you’re a first responder, you have probably undergone training with index cards at some point in your career. This tried-and-tested method helps trainers provide information to downrange operators that should initiate a response or action from those operators.
On the surface, radiation training can seem somewhat straightforward: teach students how to properly and safely respond to situations involving radiation. However, as many CBRNe instructors know, it’s not that simple.
Training is an essential aspect of preparing radiation professionals for the realities of live radiological incidents, whether they are operating in the field of first response, law enforcement, customs and border control or the military.
While much of the essential theoretical and regulatory information can be conveyed in the classroom setting, there is also the vital need to exercise, hone and verify that knowledge through hands-on training.
The New York City Fire Department‘s dedicated HazMat unit, HazMat Company 1, is responsible for attending a vast array of major emergencies, hazardous materials incidents and terrorism-related disasters citywide.
Supporting the team in their efforts is a select group of FDNY EMS units known as Hazardous Material Tactical Units, whose members are trained to provide emergency medical care and decontamination within hazardous environments.
Technology and equipment is making a powerful contribution to the realism and learning outcomes of radiological training programs for emergency responders, firefighters and HazMat personnel.
With the help of innovative new simulator-based training tools, instructors are able provide their trainees with the crucial hands-on experience that they need to safely handle the challenges of live radiation incidents.
The use of simulation within a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) training environment is not a new concept.
Over the years, CBRN instructors have become well used to employing a variety of different simulation types - from notes written on index cards, to the calling out of verbal cues over the trainee’s shoulder, or the use of multiple harmful chemicals as false positives that react to chemical detectors.
The continued development of chemical and biological weapons, the re-emergence of Novichok nerve agents and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are all placing unprecedented pressure on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) response capability worldwide.
Building confidence and familiarity with key radiological terminology and instrumentation is a vital aspect of emergency management preparedness.
As part of its commitment to enhancing transportation incident response, the US Department of Energy has developed the Transportation Emergency Preparedness Program (TEPP) which offers a simple, practical and responder-friendly approach to the complex subject of radiation.
Maintaining combat readiness is a vital requirement for military personnel who are deployed to potentially environments where there is risk of exposure to chemical warfare agents (CWAs) or toxic industrial chemicals (TICs).
The development, production and use of chemical weapons continues to remain a significant global concern, due in no small part to the wide availability of the active substances that are used to create them and the relative ease with which the methods or recipes for CWA production can be obtained and shared online.
Realistic hands-on training is perhaps one of the most proactive steps that can ensure emergency response personnel are equipped to counter the challenges of hazardous materials and CBRN incidents.
The events of the past twelve months however have been quite unlike anything ever experienced before, with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic placing unprecedented pressure on training budgets and on the way in which programs of instruction are delivered.