CBRN / HazMat Training Blog

CBRNe and HazMat training news roundup 2017

Written by Steven Pike on 03 Jan 2018

Ensuring the operational readiness of the military and first response teams to handle any potential Hazardous Materials (HazMat) or Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive (CBRNe) event continues to be a complex and exciting challenge for HazMat and CBRNe trainers.

In this final blog for 2017 we provide a roundup of news, innovations and developments in the world of CBRNe and HazMat training over the past year.


A comparison of exercise scenarios for authentic CBRNe training

Written by Steven Pike on 30 Nov 2017

The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), signed and ratified by 192 state-parties globally, is a multilateral treaty that bans the use of chemical weapons under international humanitarian law, and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.

The treaty prohibits the developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining of chemical weapons; the direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons; the use of chemical weapons by the military; the assistance, inducement or encouragement of other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity; and the use of riot control agents as a method of warfare.

Thankfully, acquiring, producing, and dispersing chemical agents is more easily said than done, as many CWAs are dangerous to acquire and handle; require highly sophisticated expertise and technology to produce and are often difficult to disperse in a sufficient quantity to inflict harm.

Nonetheless, it is vital not to underestimate the inherent risk to global security of any deliberate chemical attack. With that awareness comes an increasing need for military personnel and first response teams to be prepared for the unique challenges of an act of chemical warfare.


How to ensure the highest levels of safety in CBRNe training scenarios

Written by Steven Pike on 27 Nov 2017

Prominent world events, such as the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Ebola outbreak and the use of chemical weapons in countries such as Syria and Iraq, highlight the vital importance for the US military and first response units worldwide to be prepared for the most demanding of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive (CBRNe) challenges.

Irrespective of how a release happens, and whether it be accidental or deliberate in nature, it is essential that response teams have the requisite skills to be able to identify, secure and work within any potentially hostile environment.

To this end, the creation of realistic, immersive and compelling scenarios, that accurately portray the challenges that teams will face in the field, is pivotal to effective training.

Research has shown that experiential learning is an incredibly powerful training tool, but when you are working with high-risk substances such as toxic chemicals or radiation, how can CBRNe instructors ensure the most realistic student experience whilst also maintaining the highest levels of safety?

In this blog post we discuss the significance of safety within the context of CBRNe training scenarios and explore the options currently available to provide safe and realistic hands-on training experiences.


The key attributes of effective CBRN and HazMat training

Written by Steven Pike on 12 Oct 2017

Realistic CBRN and HazMat training scenarios have a crucial role to play in providing first responders and military personnel with life-saving knowledge and preparedness for CBRN incidents.  

A cornerstone of the CBRN training process is the design and delivery of hands-on scenarios that prepare participants, with as much realism as possible, for the physical, environmental and psychological challenges of real-life CBRN events.

In this blog post we explore the key qualities of effective CBRN instruction, the importance of creating authentic training scenarios and the vital contribution of electronic simulation detectors in delivering effective CBRN and HazMat training.


PlumeSIM provides exciting addition to Steel Beasts HazMat training

Written by Steven Pike on 25 Sep 2017

With the growing risk worldwide of chemical and radiological threat within both military and civilian settings, there is an increasing need for a high quality and cost-effective means of incorporating support for CBRN and HazMat Hazards into existing training systems.

While in some cases, CBRN Hazard capability can be achieved by standalone technology (such as the wide-area, instrumented training system PlumeSIM,) in other situations it can be helpful for users to be able to simulate a scenario that replicates a combination of hazards that includes, but is not necessarily limited to, specific CBRN threats. In such circumstances too, it can also be preferable for users to be able to incorporate any additional CBRN hazard capability into their own existing simulation system.


CBRN simulators bring realism to Bristol Police HazMat training

Written by Steven Pike on 20 Sep 2017

Argon Electronics' range of CBRN response training simulators has received high praise from the Police National CBRN Centre, following a recent chemical weapon threat HazMat training exercise at the Bristol City Football Ground in which trainees were required to provide security and safety for a half-marathon event.

The use of simulators brought a degree of realism to the exercise from the very start, with the release of simulated chemical agents taking place even while the commanders were still delivering their briefings, as Officer Paul Lacey from the Avon and Somerset Constabulary Police Headquarters, explained.


Marriage of SAAB Training Systems Gamer and Argon’s CBRN PlumeSIM

Written by Steven Pike on 17 Sep 2017

SAAB Training Systems Gamer and Argon’s CBRN PlumeSIM v2

Live training systems such as SAAB’s Gamer have been in use by many organisations worldwide for a number of years to deliver effective training in a Live environment. Support for CBRN, however has been minimal, and in general has not extended beyond monitoring if the respirator has been donned.

Argon Electronics and SAAB Training Systems have cooperated to address this limitation by implementing an integration between Argons’ PlumeSIM Live CBRN training system and SAABs’ Gamer system.

This effort has resulted in the ability to generate CBRN threats within PlumeSIM that are reflected within the Gamer EXCON in real time. PlumeSIM also provided integration with Argons’ extensive range of Radiological and Chemical Warfare training simulators and their associated After Action Review capability.


What are the key outcomes of effective CBRN and HazMat training?

Written by Steven Pike on 23 Aug 2017

One of the ongoing challenges for CBRN and HazMat training instructors is the creation of realistic, sophisticated and engaging operational scenarios that give emergency crews and first responders hands-on, real-time experience of a range of potential CBRN incidents.

And while historically chemical warfare agent (CWA) training was more likely to have been carried out in private, specialist training areas such as a military base, for first responders there is an increased need for life-like CBRN or HazMat scenarios that can take place in civilian settings.

Simulation training, incorporating the use of simulator detectors, provides one crucial piece of the puzzle, utilising cutting-edge, computer-based simulator technology to replicate how actual devices will react when exposed to a range of invisible or near invisible chemical agents.

The use of electronic simulators provides the opportunity for trainees to become confident and proficient in the handling, reading and interpretation of their devices.


How to create realistic first responder radiation training scenarios

Written by Steven Pike on 25 Jul 2017

The ability to project realism into CBRN training is an ongoing challenge for first responders. And especially so when it comes to the practical, hands-on use of highly specialist equipment such as radiation detectors.

When firefighter Ross Smallcombe was asked to provide the duty crew at the Ryde Fire Station on the Isle of Wight with a short training session on the use of their service's Mirion Rados RDS 200 Universal Survey Meter, he quickly realised that there were some significant gaps in the crew's practical hands-on experience of the device. 

"The biggest problem I had was being able to carry out realistic first responder training that gave a real understanding and hands-on approach to radiation," says Smallcombe.

"After visiting the Argon website, I contacted them to enquire about the use of a Rados RDS200 simulatorWithin an hour I was having a conversation with Steven Pike (Managing Director) who was willing to assist me with my plans and loan me a kit which included simulation emitters (both directional and spherical), simulation powders and liquids, the GMP-11-SIM simulation beta contamination probe and EPD-MK2-SIM (personal dosimeters).


7 reasons to use simulators for CBRN training

Written by Steven Pike on 14 Jun 2017

Historically, CBRN training has been confined to specialist, controlled areas, usually on a military base and the training scenarios employed involved the use of simulant agents that were dispensed manually, in restricted quantities. These factors often limited the range and effectiveness of training CBRN instructors were able to deliver.

With terrorist-related incidents being the primary threat for which today's CBRN schools train, the need for more flexible, real-world training scenarios has never been greater.

Simulated detector technology offers an opportunity for students to experience all the characteristics of live agent training in a completely controlled setting. There are also many advantages for the trainer, including full control over the scenario and the ability to carry out the exercises in almost any environment, inside or outside and in real-world settings.

In this post we explore seven of the real benefits you and your students can obtain from using simulated detectors in your CBRN training