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.
But for anyone who has used these types of simulation methods, there is also the understanding that there can be limitations in terms of the scope and the realism of the scenarios that can be created.
The challenges of radiological survey exercises
Particular challenges can arise when working with radiation, where the transportation and storage of radiological sources needs to be tightly controlled.
The regulatory and safety considerations that accompany the use of radiation mean that instructors are often left with just a couple of choices.
For those looking for a high-activity source to supplement their training, there is the option to call on the services of a Radiological Control Technician (RCT) who can attend your training session and oversee the use of the source.
But as many instructors can attest, this also means that you are working on that individual’s time which can limit both the duration and scope of your scenarios.
Another option is to use some form of button source that emits a low level of radiation activity. But this is not necessarily the most practical if you are looking to create a realistic radiological environment for your trainees.
A new approach to radiation training
A new radiation training solution has set out to resolve the challenges of live radiological source-based training by replacing the use of actual radiation with a safe electromagnetic source.
Argon Electronics’ Radsim GS4 provides a way for trainees to take part in radiological survey exercises in which they can experience:
- Dose rate and dose readings that trigger personal safety actions
- Alarms that indicate potentially hazardous radiation levels
- Inverse square law response
- The shielding effects of different materials
Argon's Radsim simulated sources provide consistent readings across all radiological detection instruments. The results can also be easily replicated each time the student revisits the same location within the exercise.
Safe and realistic radiological scenarios
Using the Radsim GS4, instructors have the freedom to develop a wide variety of safe and highly realistic radiological scenarios that incorporate people, packages, vehicles and facilities.
Trainees can exercise their response procedures while assigned to an area of operation such as a busy concert venue.
The RadSIM GS4 can be placed inside a pull-along case and hidden from view, with the activity level set for the desired exposure rate.
This scenario will help trainees develop their investigation techniques and decision-making skills regarding dose rate responses.
Trainees can simulate working an operation such as a sporting event on a college campus where an unattended backpack has been left next to a food court.
The safe source can be placed inside any sized container (backpack, cardboard box, wood crate, etc), with the activity level set for the desired exposure rate.
Within this scenario, trainees can practice their search techniques and decision-making skills.
In this scenario trainees can perform a roaming inspection in a multi-floor shopping mall parking garage.
The safe radiological source can be placed inside a vehicle (under a seat, in the trunk etc) and hidden from view.
The activity level can be set for the desired exposure rate and the radiation simulator will also account for the shielding of the vehicle.
The Radsim GS4 will account for the vehicle's shielding, whereas the trainee's simulators will alarm up to 50ft away from the suspect vehicle.
This scenario can help trainees practice search techniques and apply the inverse square law rule as they correctly identify the suspect vehicle.
In this scenario multiple people, all from the same work location, have presented at a hospital with signs and symptoms of Acute Radiation Syndrome (ASR).
The Radsim GS4 can be placed in the workplace with the activity level set for the desired exposure rate.
After a thorough search of the building, trainees find a Radiological Exposure Device (RED) concealed within the staff lunch room.
This scenario can help trainees practice search techniques and apply the inverse square law rule to identify the source's location.
Radiological training re-envisioned
New simulation training tools such as the Radsim GS4 provide instructors with the capacity to create highly realistic radiological training scenarios that mitigate all safety concerns for students, instructors, the wider public and the environment.
If you would like to explore how simulator training products can be integrated into your radiological training scenarios, please contact the Argon Electronics team to arrange a live online product demonstration.