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.


What are the most common HazMat threats for first responders?

Written by Steven Pike on 08 October 2018


HazMat first responders are typically the first line of defence after an unintentional or deliberate release of toxic chemicals. As most first responders know, these releases can pose a wide range of physical health and environmental hazards. And when it comes to the storage, handling or transport of hazardous materials (HazMat), safety is paramount.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines HazMat as any substance that is potentially harmful to human health or the environment, while in Europe, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) states that all substances and mixtures meeting the criteria of one or more of the hazard classes in the European Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (or CLP Regulation) are considered hazardous. 

While there are a multitude of precautions that industries will take to stay safe, in the event of accidental spillage due to a road traffic accident or as the result of an industrial incident, highly trained HazMat crews will be called on to mitigate the threat.

In this blog post we explore eight of the most common hazardous materials that first responders are likely to encounter in the event of an industrial accident or road transport incident.


How prepared do firefighters feel to handle HazMat incidents?

Written by Steven Pike on 01 October 2018

From transport accidents involving hazardous compounds, to the mishandling of household chemicals, or the deliberate release of hazardous materials, fire department crews across the country need to be equipped and trained to respond to a myriad of potential HazMat events.

So just how prepared do firefighters really feel when it comes to responding to the unique challenges of HazMat incidents?

In a bid to answer this question, the online resource for fire professionals, FireRescue1, conducted a survey of its readers to gauge their views on the best ways to achieve safe and effective HazMat response.


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.


How simulators enhance substance detection in HazMat training

Written by Steven Pike on 09 August 2018

Historically, chemical warfare agent (CWA) training involved the use of simulants which were dispersed manually.

But new generations of intelligent, computer-based simulation tools offer a real, workable alternative.

HazMat simulation training can accurately replicate how real devices react when confronted by a range of chemical agents, taking into account the volatility of the substances, the prevailing meteorological conditions and the differing detection tactics and techniques used. 


9 scenarios for realistic chemical warfare agent training

Written by Steven Pike on 28 June 2018

A primary consideration when encountering a Chemical Warfare Agent (CWA) or other hazardous material is to be able to recognize, identify and contain the threat.

CWA training scenarios can provide an invaluable opportunity to prepare HazMat and CBRNe crews for the realities that they are likely to encounter in real-life incidents.

In this blog post we explore 9 simple CWA training scenarios that incorporate the use of intelligent electronic simulator detectors to create effective, safe and highly realistic training experiences.


New technology on track to vitalize confined space HazMat training

Written by Steven Pike on 25 June 2018

Teams operating in confined spaces within hazardous industrial buildings or process facilities understand all too well the importance of adhering to strict health and safety regulations.

The hazards that confined spaces present can be physical or atmospheric in nature - from the risks of asphyxiation or entrapment to exposure to extremes of temperature or the release of toxic chemicals.

According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, on average two people die in the US every day as the result of incidents that take place within confined spaces.

In many cases too, it is not just the victim who is at risk, but the rescuer or first responder who may be unaware of the HazMat threat they are about to encounter.


How to conduct safe CWA training for incidents in civilian areas

Written by Steven Pike on 03 May 2018

One of the primary goals of chemical warfare agent (CWA) training is the ability to be able to ensure operational readiness in the event of a terrorist related threat or deliberate act of aggression.

The challenge though is to provide realistic, hands-on training opportunities that offer the highest degree of authenticity for the trainees while at the same time preventing any risk to the general public, to the environment or to the participants themselves.

So what options exist that enable instructors to create realistic CWA training scenarios which safely and accurately reflect the conditions of incidents in civilian locations?


What are the challenges of decontamination of chemical warfare agents?

Written by Steven Pike on 27 April 2018

The environmental impact of incidents involving Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) can be long-lasting and requires meticulous and expert decontamination by chemical operations specialists.

The clean-up process also takes considerable time, as has been evidenced in the case of the Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury, UK in March 2018.

Nearly two months after the incident, a total of nine key sites connected to the attack remain under guard behind high-security barriers while they await specialist decontamination.


The threat of cyber attacks on industrial HazMat safety

Written by Steven Pike on 25 April 2018

Major industrial hazardous material (HazMat) incidents are thankfully rare. 

However, with the many thousands of highly toxic chemicals currently in commercial use worldwide, there is the ever-present risk of release - whether it be due to an accident, or as the result of an intentional act of aggression.