CBRN / HazMat Training Blog

CBRNe Convergence 2018: what to see and do

Written by Steven Pike on 10 October 2018

Argon Electronics will be among the global CBRNe and HazMat professionals at the eleventh annual CBRNe Convergence which takes place in Orlando, Florida, from November 6th to 8th, 2018.

This year's event brings together leading world experts in the fields of WMD, chemical attacks, biological weapons and HazMat - with the programme of activities tying together on the theme of the merging of military and civilian response to CBRNe and IED threats.


How CBRN training with simulators reduces reliance on PPE

Written by Steven Pike on 12 September 2018

With the increasing prevalence of the use of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) in conflicts, the need for hands-on training in the use of detector equipment is even more crucial in ensuring that military personnel are able to respond quickly, safely and effectively to live incidents.

An ideal way to achieve operational readiness is to provide realistic training exercises that use detector simulators and software to demonstrate the nature, challenges and unpredictability of the threats and the environments that soldiers may be exposed to.


The benefit of simulator training for CBRN reconnaissance vehicles

Written by Steven Pike on 06 September 2018

The primary task of a CBRN reconnaissance vehicle crew is to confirm the presence of a potential chemical warfare agent (CWA) and to report that information to their command structure for analysis.

The intelligence that a crew provides to its Cell Controller is crucial in enabling senior officers to make mission-critical decisions on where, or where not, to deploy their forces within a battle space.

A CBRN reconnaissance vehicle creates a cocoon of relative 'safety' for its crew. But it is also a challenging environment in which to operate.

The vehicles can be cramped and uncomfortable, there is the risk of exposure to toxic hazards, the danger of direct attack by enemy forces, and the potential for the malfunctioning of the vehicle's Collective Protection (COLPRO) system.

For these reasons, simulator training for CBRN reconnaissance vehicles can have a vital role to play in providing CBRN personnel with the most realistic - and safe - training experiences possible.

In this blog post we explore the role of simulators in CBRN reconnaissance vehicle field training and we discuss the features of the four primary simulator training options currently available.


What to look for in a simulator detector system for CBRN training

Written by Steven Pike on 04 September 2018

The threat of an accidental or deliberate release of a hazardous material (HazMat) or Chemical Warfare Agent (CWA) is increasingly being recognized as an acute global challenge.

In the event of an incident, swift detection and response is crucial. And the accuracy and quality of the information obtained - and how that information is communicated up the chain of command - is of paramount importance.


How hands-on experience with PPE aids chemical warfare agent training

Written by Steven Pike on 30 August 2018

The ability to deliver realistic, engaging and safe Chemical Warfare Agent (CWA) training is a vital element of preparing service personnel for live experiences in the field.

Military crews, first response teams and hazardous materials (HazMat) personnel are regularly called on to lead responses in contaminated environments, and at significant personal risk.


What is the difference between HazMat and CBRNe?

Written by Steven Pike on 14 August 2018

Although HazMat (hazardous materials) and CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) emergency response share certain common ground, there have always traditionally been some fundamental differences in terms of the focus, method and priorities of each approach.

While HazMat incidents may have typically comprised smaller-scale, accidental and non-weaponized events, for example, CBRNe missions have tended to be in response to the deliberate use of chemical warfare agents (CWAs), often under battlefield conditions and within the context of planned, special intelligence operations.


Key facts about the CBRN Exhibition 2018

Written by Steven Pike on 11 June 2018

Argon's award-winning instrumented CBRNe exercise systems PlumeSim and PlumeSIM-SMART will be among the array of innovative technologies available to see live in action at the fifth annual CBRN Exhibition in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, this June.

Visitors will also be able to view Argon's range of simulators for the Smiths Detection M4 JCADandM4A1 JCAD chemical agent detectors - as well as a selection of simulation probes for the Canberra/MirionAN/PDR-77, AN/VDR-2andRDS100 radiation detection systems.


What essential equipment is required for radiation safety training?

Written by Steven Pike on 25 January 2018

Radiation safety training has a crucial role to play in ensuring effective response to any radiological incident, whether it be large or small, accidental or deliberate.

When dealing with live radiation incidents, CBRNe personnel and first responders rely on two essential items of equipment to enable them to monitor radiation dose and their individual dose rate - a survey meter and a personal dosimeter.

While these pieces of instrumentation are both fairly straightforward to use, the challenge for CBRNe instructors is to be able to provide trainees with the chance to test their practical knowledge of their detectors in the context of realistic training exercises.

It’s also vital that trainees understand the full significance of any detector readings which may initiate decisions, and that they are comfortable with changes of units in measurement, shielding, survey, contamination avoidance and decontamination procedures.

Unlike other types of safety training scenarios where simulants or live sources can be used to simulate a specific threat, there is no alternative to radiation that can replicate a reading on an actual unmodified radiation detector. So what options exist that can enable users to experience every operational feature of an actual detector in as realistic a setting as possible?

In this blog post we explore the unique features of survey meters and personal dosimeters and offer suggestions for suitable replacements which can be used to create an authentic trainee experience when undertaking radiation safety training exercises.


The importance of radiation safety- what CBRNe crews need to know

Written by Steven Pike on 10 January 2018

Ionizing radiation is an invisible force that is constantly around us, whether it be in the form of man-made radioactive materials such as medical radiotherapy or nuclear fuels, or in harmless naturally occurring radioactive sources (NORMs) that can be present in such things as foodstuffs, in the ground beneath our feet and within our own bodies.

In the US and UK, the amount of radiation that civilians are exposed to in their daily life generally falls well within safe parameters for annual individual radiation exposure (approximately 0.62 rem, or 620 millirem annually, in the US and approximately 270 millirem per year in the UK.)

But for military personnel or emergency teams, who may be called upon to respond to a range of unpredictable and potentially hazardous radiological incidents, the possibility to be exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation presents a much more serious threat.

The potential threats of radiation exposure can be many and varied - from occupational exposure in the course of civilian radiation operations (such as radiopharmaceutical incidents, hospital irradiator incident or industrial radiography) through to accidental release, illegal disposal or large-scale radiological events.

Any type of exposure to radioactivity carries with it some degree of risk. But exactly how that exposure affects an individual will depend on a variety of factors, including the energy of the radiation emissions, the activity (or disintegrations per second) of the radioactivity, how quickly the radioactivity dissipates in, and from, the body, and where in the body the radioactivity is concentrated.

In this blog post we explore three elements of radiation safety - the units of measurements used to measure radiation exposure, the effects of radioactivity on the body, and the three key factors that will determine an individual’s exposure to ionising radiation.


The environmental impact of CBRNe & HazMat training scenarios

Written by Steven Pike on 04 January 2018

The ability to be able to respond to any emergency CBRNe or HazMat situation, whether it be an accidental event or a deliberate act of aggression, is a vital necessity for military personnel and first response teams.

A civilian HazMat incident that occurs during the transport of hazardous materials by road, air, rail or ship is just one example of a scenario where specialist HazMat safety expertise will be required.

While hazardous materials regulations are in place to avoid and mitigate the impact of accidental spillage, any incident that involves a hazardous substance has the potential to cause environmental harm and will require a fast and emphatic response from trained emergency crews.

Likewise too, military teams need to be trained and equipped to handle any CBRNe incident such as the release, deliberate or otherwise, of a hazardous material or chemical warfare agent (CWA).

The US military for example uses a wide variety of materials to aid its national defense mission - from petroleum products and solvents to chemicals and explosives  - and all of which can pose a hazard if improperly handled.

It is essential that military personnel, both uniformed and civilian, are trained in the safe handling, storage, transport and disposal of hazardous materials and that they are instructed on the potential dangers that these hazardous substances can present both to individuals and the environment.