CBRN / HazMat Training Blog

What is the difference between external & internal radiation exposure?

Written by Steven Pike on 12 Nov 2019

Radiological incidents where there is the potential for the release of ionising radiation can occur in a wide variety of scenarios - be it a fire in an industrial facility, a transportation accident that involves radioactive materials or the deliberate use of a radiological dispersal device (RDD).

Any accident or incident that involves a radiological hazard can place significant operational demands on first response teams as well as placing those personnel at risk of exposure to potentially dangerous levels of ionising radiation.


What are the safety risks when transporting radioactive materials?

Written by Steven Pike on 05 Nov 2019

Radioactive materials have a wide variety of applications within the fields of medicine, power generation, manufacturing and the military - and just as with any other product, there are times when these materials may need to be moved from one location to another.

In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are around three million shipments of radioactive materials to, from or within the US every year.In the UK meanwhile, Public Health England (PHE) has reported that somewhere in the region of half a million packages containing radioactive materials are transported to, from or within the UK annually.


The role of time, distance & shielding in radiation safety training

Written by Steven Pike on 28 Oct 2019

Emergency first responders face the possibility of encountering radioactive materials in even the most seemingly routine of scenarios.

It might be in the course of containing an industrial fire, or attending a road transport accident or responding to an incident within a specialist medical facility.


A guide to the features and functions of gamma survey meters

Written by Steven Pike on 15 Oct 2019

The monitoring of gamma radiation is crucial for preserving human life and maintaining environmental safety, whether it is in the context of military peacekeeping activities, border control, law enforcement, first response or as part of routine surveillance within medical or industrial facilities.


What are the key features and health effects of ionizing radiation?

Written by Steven Pike on 04 Oct 2019

When we contemplate the possibility of responding to a serious incident involving ionizing radiation it can be hard not to summon up images of catastrophic events such as Fukushima or Chernobyl.

In reality however, emergencies that involve ionizing radiation can take a variety of forms that can vary widely in their severity.


What are the pros and cons of simulators for radiation safety training?

Written by Steven Pike on 04 Jun 2019

Electronic radiation simulators provide trainees with realistic first-hand experience of handling detector equipment that is identical to that which they will use in the field.

But while the use of simulator detectors can offer significant advantages for both student and instructor, as with any form of training method there may be some compromises.

In this blog post we explore some of the pros and the cons of radiation safety training using simulator detectors.


What is the difference between pure and enriched uranium?

Written by Steven Pike on 27 Mar 2019

Uranium is a radioactive element that is well-known for its use as the essential fuel for commercial nuclear power plants, with around 11% of the world's electricity being generated from uranium in nuclear reactors. 

In March 2019, an incident on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil sparked global media coverage, when an armoured convoy transporting uranium fuel to the Angra 2 Power Plant became caught up in a shootout between two rival gangs.

Following the incident, a spokesperson for Brazil's nuclear agency stated that the uranium posed "no risk" to humans or the environment, due to the fact that it was being transported in its"natural form."


How simulators aid emergency response radiation safety training

Written by Steven Pike on 18 Dec 2018

In an ideal world, an emergency response team would know exactly what kind of radiological hazard they were attending before they arrived on the scene of an incident. This might be via a resource such as a central database that lists the addresses of properties that are known to contain specific sources of ionising radiation.

In other cases, such as a road traffic accident for example, that risk might not become apparent until responders reach the incident and are confronted with a clear visual warning in the form of a trefoil.


Getting hands-on with nuclear emergency response training

Written by Steven Pike on 05 Dec 2018

Large-scale releases of ionizing radiation are thankfully a rare occurrence. But with just over sixty commercially run nuclear power plants currently in service in the US, and fifteen operational nuclear reactors located across seven plants in the UK, the risk of an accidental release, however minor, is one that must be meticulously trained for.


What are the options for obtaining CBRN simulator detector equipment?

Written by Steven Pike on 15 Nov 2018

Radiation training has always been an inherently challenging exercise for first responders. After all, how do you ensure that your crews recognize and understand the very real dangers of this silent and invisible threat?

Thankfully exposure to dangerous levels of ionizing radiation is not something that most first response teams are likely to encounter that frequently. But having the right training - and having access to the resources and equipment to be able to train as often as necessary - is absolutely essential.