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Detecting CBRN Threats

Detecting CBRN Threats

By | chemical attack preparation, chemical spill clean up, terrorist attack preparation, Uncategorized

All around the world there is a need for emergency responders, whether in a small or large community or city, to have access to reliable and interoperable CBRNe detectors to protect not only property but also human life. “CBRNe” is the abbreviation that is commonly used to describe the malevolent use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, & Explosive materials/weapons with the intention to cause mass casualties and destruction. Access to full CBRN protection can be extremely expensive to implement, but with the right CBRN mitigation tools and detection devices, prevention and protection of CBRN threats is achievable.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear materials can possess hazardous effects, these effects can include the following in each category:

  • Chemical: Poisoning or injury caused by chemical substances. This can include military Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs), harmful industrial chemicals, and household chemicals.
  • Biological: Illnesses that are caused by a deliberate release of a hazardous bacteria, virus, or even a biological toxin.
  • Radiological: Illness caused by exposure to harmful radioactive materials.
  • Nuclear: Extreme life-threatening health effects that are caused by exposure to harmful radiation, thermal, or blast arising from a nuclear deployment.

Detecting these materials and weapons has been optimized over the last couple of years, with new and improving devices being brought forward for the utilization of emergency responders. These CBRNe detection devices have capabilities that allow for identification and communication of CBRN threats, as well as the capacity to recognize potential CBRNe threats through equipment, education, and effective protocols.

CBRN Attack

CBRN is what can be described as a low probability, high risk threat. Although the chances of an attack utilizing these materials is low, if it were to occur the results could be significant and even deadly. A CBRN attack can occur in several different manners which include:

  • Criminal acts, a deliberate dumping or release of hazardous materials to avoid regulatory requirements.
  • A maliciously motivated poisoning of one or more individuals.
  • Or a terrorist act that involves serious violence or brutality to people or property.

A CBRN attack differs from a normal terrorist attack significantly in many aspects. CBRN agents cause contamination and specific health hazards depending on the type of agent utilized and the amount of the agent deployed into the environment. Conclusively, CBRN attacks can present complete destruction and mass casualties with the sole intent of harming a whole group of people.

CBRN Threat Brief

Terroristic threats are a dangerous potential crisis for large populations of people. The development and utilization of CBRN weapons has proven a lethal threat and one that must be prepared for heavily. The full extent of the potential CBRN threats cannot be predicted as they can evolve in unanticipated ways depending on a number of outside factors. The unpredictability and uncertainty of these threats can pose a challenge in preparing for a possible CBRN threat.

Also, before a CBRN threat occurs, there are no warnings that are initiated prior to the threat, so being alert of potential indicators that may appear is critical. Indicators can occur suddenly and seem out of place such as powders, liquids, or strange smells.

CBRN Threats in Relation to TerrorismCBRN Threats in Relation to Terrorism

Terrorism and terrorist threats has been a main focus for the U.S. government. As of the past decades we have seen a growing recognition that vigilance in preventing terrorist groups from obtaining dangerous weapons, such as CBRN threats, is vital to protecting the health and safety of a large group of individuals. The strategy for countering terrorism is strengthened by counter programs that aim to reduce or abolish CBRN materials produced and stored by states.

The use of CBRN materials and the developing expertise of these weapons remains a haunting terrorist threat. Many terrorist groups have stated their intent to acquire, develop, and implement these materials. Within the last couple of years these threats have rung true, as ISIS was found responsible for a hazardous sulfur mustard attack in Syria on August 21, 2015. This attack gave the United States a proactive mission to disrupt and deny ISIS’s CBRN capabilities.

What Does a CBRN Specialist Do?

Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialists also known as CBRN or chemical operations specialists, are U.S. Army personnel who are responsible for protecting the country from weapons that fall into any of those categories. Specialists that are called to respond to a disaster will distribute protective gear or enter into impacted areas to begin the decontamination process. The CBRN specialist are trained to manage, train, and maintain protective gear that military members will wear when exposed to CBRN threats.

A CBRN specialist protects the country from the threat of these weapons of mass destruction and any weapon of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear type. They plan and use highly advanced equipment in coordination with defense systems that are used against CBRN threats.

Types of Chemical Agent Detection Devices

Chemical agent detection methods will be an essential part of both medical crisis and consequence management. Detection and identification of the chemical agent or agents at the scene of a terrorist incident has to be accomplished but not at the expense of rapid and appropriate medical treatment of chemical casualties. Normally, an incident that involves the release of any chemicals or toxic materials will be categorized as a hazardous materials incident. Therefore, the first emergency responders who arrive on the scene must be capable of determining the Hazmat incident and be able to implement chemical agent detection devices at the scene.

Chemical detection equipment that is currently used by Hazmat teams varies considerably by the location. Large metropolitan areas and their current detectors can range from adequate to no capability for CWA detection. However, Hazmat teams are routinely equipped with a variety of chemical detectors and monitoring kits that can provide useful when chemical threats occur in the environment.

Chemical Decontamination Solution

When a chemical threat is detected in the environment the use of a chemical decontamination solution is needed. Depending on the chemical threat many chemical decon products require a different solution that is needed to apply to the chemical to achieve decontamination – this can be a lengthy process of identifying and decontaminating. However, with the FAST-ACT decontamination products, hazmat and first responders are able to quickly decontaminate a broad spectrum of chemical agents, including CWAs, without having to identify the chemical before deploying the decontamination process. The proprietary technology undergoes a patented process that makes the earth mineral ingredients highly reactive against a broad spectrum of chemicals, adsorbing and neutralizing chemical threats from the surface and air.

Chemical Decontamination Solution

CBRNe threats and detection devices are a very helpful and effective measure to have when a threat of this magnitude and danger is present to an environment and a population of people. Being prepared and protected with CBRN detection devices will aid in the overall safety of civilians and emergency responders upon the deployment of these potentially deadly CBRN materials.

Decontamination of Chemical Threats: from Person to Electronics

By | chemical attacks properness, chemical spill clean up, Uncategorized

Decontamination is a process of making any person, object, or area safe by absorbing, neutralizing, or destroying chemical agents released in the environment. Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) are very complex and destructive agents that can be deployed or released into an area causing significant issues to both public health & overall safety. Chemical agents can be classified as nerve agents, blood agents, choking agents, and TICs (Toxic Industrial Chemical) – each category of chemical agents contain different characteristics that create a lethal concoction.

Chemical threats may be dispersed in many different forms ranging from liquid form to vapor form, which can both have their own hazardous effects on the environment, human health, and on decontamination equipment. CWAs in vapor form can penetrate into the interior of decon equipment and damage the equipment if the chemical agent is highly corrosive. Whereas CWAs in liquid form can adhere to a surface, spread over the surface, and penetrate into tiny spaces such as cracks and crevices – this type of adsorption can cause changes to the properties of the material, which can affect the decontamination equipment. Decontamination of chemical threats can be a very challenging process and having the proper equipment and trained personnel can help to accomplish a complete decontamination of a chemical threat.

What is the Purpose of Decontamination?

What is the Purpose of DecontaminationDecontamination is a multi-faceted topic that involves several components including health issues, hazardous materials (HAZMAT) issues, emergency response issues, and crime scene issues. This practice is set in place to facilitate the neutralization or destruction of hazardous chemicals that may get released into an environment.

Decontamination practices offer a rapid solution to limiting the spread of contaminants from the “hot zone”, where chemicals affect a specific area. There are many components included in the decontamination process, such as cleaning contaminated victims from a wide spectrum of chemical threats and neutralizing a contaminated area from hazardous materials.

Unfortunately, the reality is that often times decon is only conducted as an afterthought after an incident occurs, and because of this, decon can sometimes be dismissed as not an integral or important part of the response procedure. And when decontamination procedures are not implemented it can lead to a very volatile environment that can be significantly hazardous to humans.

What are the Basic Principles of Decontamination?

Decontamination overall is essential to have for emergency responders, HAZMAT, and military members who are typically the individuals who are exposed to and on the scene at a contaminated area. The resources required to perform a proper and effective decontamination is fairly costly in terms of manpower, time, space and even material, but the benefits that decontamination provide to the safety of the environment and humans is invaluable.

The process of decontamination is composed of basic principles to help facilitate a successful decon application – these four basic principles include speed, need, limit, and priority. Of these four principles, speed is amongst the most crucial when it comes to decontamination. Contamination of a chemical threat on personnel or in a specific area can pose an immediate hazard and become lethal within minutes after contamination takes place. Therefore, implementing immediate action and decontamination practices will play a key role in the effect of a chemical release or outbreak.

What are the Three Main Levels of Decontamination?

Depending on the level of hazard, the amount of the chemical present, and the actual chemical that is at play can all lead to a specific form of decontamination that needs to be activated. There are two categories of decontamination that can be used during a chemical release – Passive or Active Decontamination. Passive decontamination is accomplished by exposing an object to high temperatures, sunlight, and wind, which is a very time-consuming process for decontamination. Whereas active decontamination is a process of removing and neutralizing liquid or solid contamination of CWAs, this is a rapid decontamination solution that most emergency responders will utilize during a chemical release.

The active decontamination process is subdivided into three main levels of decontamination – immediate, operational, and thorough.

  • Immediate decontamination: Decon that is performed by the individuals and can include the decontamination of personal clothing and/or equipment. This can save lives, minimize casualties and limit the spread of contamination. It can also be performed on individual protective equipment to sustain personal protection.
  • Operational decontamination: Decon that is performed by an individual and/or unit on a specific part of operational significant equipment. This helps to minimize contact, transfer hazard, and to sustain operations.
  • Thorough decontamination: Decon that is performed by a unit to reduce contamination on personnel, equipment, material, and working areas to the lowest potential level.

All three levels of decontamination focus on both personnel decontamination and environment/surface decontamination. The process of decontaminating surfaces can be complex, as there are many factors you must take into consideration before containing and neutralizing the chemical threat. Many decontamination solutions require the identification of the chemical to properly neutralize the chemical threat, and this can be extremely time consuming. However, with the aid of a universal chemical decontamination solution, emergency-responders can quickly contain and neutralize the environment in which a chemical threat was present. FAST-ACT is a chemical decontamination provider that utilizes a proprietary formulation of non-toxic, high-performance specialty materials effective at neutralizing a wide range of toxic chemicals with the added capability of destroying CWAs.

How Do You Decontaminate Someone

FAST-ACT is revolutionary for liquid/vapor chemical decon with its ability to decontaminate a broad range of chemicals without the need of identifying the chemical at play. Thus, eliminating precious time wasted and minimizing health effects for those exposed.

How Do You Decontaminate Someone?

What are the Three Main Levels of DecontaminationDecontamination is most effective if victims first remove their clothing, as this has been shown to eliminate alone as much as 80-90% of all contamination. The effectiveness of removing clothes prior to decontamination rapidly decreases with time following exposure, so quick action should be taken following contamination. Victims are typically decontaminated in the water shower deluge of the decontamination corridor. Depending on the type of chemical exposure, the decontamination process can vary, the variations include the following:

  • Vapor Chemical Threat: A victim that has been exposed to the vapor should rub with either their hands, a soft cloth, or a sponge to remove the contaminants, from head to toe.
  • Liquid Chemical Threat: A victim that has been exposed to the liquid should use soap or a solution of detergent and water can be applied immediately to the skin.

Understanding and knowing the processes of implementing decontamination practices can be very vital to an emergency -responder who comes across a contaminated environment. Learning the purpose of decontamination and the best practices will help you to minimize the risks and contain a hazardous situation.

Chemical Threats the 'C' in CBRNe

Chemical Threats: the ‘C’ in CBRNe

By | chemical attack preparation, chemical attacks properness, terrorist attack preparation

CBRNe Chemical ThreatsChemical threats, an increasingly prepared for and prevalent form of attack, has become significantly highlighted to first-responders, military, and hazmat teams. The term CBRNe is a widely known and popular term for medical professionals and military defense individuals. CBRNe involves chemical threats as the ‘C’ that is found in CBRNe. The risks of chemical threats have come from recent terrorist attacks that have deployed the use of toxic and hazardous chemical agents. Chemical agents can include common chemicals utilized in laboratories (TICs), as well as deadly chemical warfare agents (CWAs).

Among the different weapons categorized as Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), chemical warfare is identified as one of the most dangerous weapons created by mankind that can create utter brutality upon deployment. Chemical threats are extremely hazardous chemicals that can be dispersed as a gas, liquid, or aerosol that spreads aggressively throughout the environment. Chemical threats have been one of the key weapons used in Syria over the last few years, as the conflict among the Ba’athist Syrian Arab Republic and foreign/domestic allies continues to rage on throughout the Country. These recent attacks have highlighted the strength and brutality of chemical threats, leaving many countries grasping for solutions and protection strategies to implement for a possible chemical agent threat upon their area. CBRNe education and training has become a much needed and explored topic after recent chemical threats, with many fields quickly adopting this specific training into their environment.

What Does CBRNe Stand for?

CBRNe is an acronym for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosives. The weapons classified under this acronym all have the ability to create extremely hazardous conditions that can lead to mass casualties and disrupt society completely. CBRNe events are commonly comprised of deliberate or aggressive acts, with the malicious intent of inciting fear or causing grave harm to humans and the environment.

Emergency responders are being taught how to recognize and mitigate attacks from such weapons and learning the key identifying characteristics between the different CBRNe weapons. The characteristics of CBRNe weapons are found below.

  • Chemical Threats: Chemical threats consist of weapons that utilize a hazardous chemical that is designed to cause intentional death or harm through its toxic properties. The four different types of chemical agents include choking agents, blister agents, blood agents, and nerve agents. This chemical threat has a direct effect on many human organs and systems including the respiratory system, lungs, heart, and skin. Symptoms that can occur upon exposure to a chemical agent includes watery eyes, itching, coughing, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness, nausea, and potentially death.
  • Biological Threats: A biological weapon, also called germ weapon, is any number of disease-producing agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, toxins, and other biological agents, that can be used as a weapon against humans. Lethal biological weapons are capable of causing mass deaths upon humans and have been responsible for more deaths than from those employed by combat. There are five different categories of biological agents including bacteria, rickettsia, viruses, fungi, and toxins. The symptoms a human may experience from a biological threat can range depending on the different category of biological agent.
  • Radiological Threats: Radiological threats are weapons that disperse radioactive agents to inflict injury or cause contamination and damage. A commonly used radiological threat is the dirty bomb, which utilizes a conventional explosion to disperse radioactive contaminants into an environment. The effects of radiological threats upon the health of an individual can vary depending on the intensity, duration, and type of radiation. Symptoms from this classification of warfare can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, diarrhea, infection, bleeding, gastrointestinal symptoms, and even death.
  • Nuclear Threats: Nuclear weapons are devices designed to release energy in an explosive manner as a result of nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, or a combination of the two. This classification of weapon can lead to extreme danger to human health.
  • Explosive Threats: An explosive weapon generally uses high explosives to project a blast and fragmentation from the point of detonation. Explosive weapons can lead to mass casualties in the affected area.

What is a CBRN Attack?

CBRNe attacks can happen either accidentally or intentionally – but no matter the circumstance the effects are bound to be grave. An accidental CBRN attack is typically caused by human error, natural, or technological reasons. This can include spills, accidental releases, or leakages that cause the incident to occur. When an accident occurs with these weapons it is usually referred to as DG or a HAZMAT accident.

Whereas intentional CBRN incidents involve criminal acts, maliciously motivated poisoning of an individual, or a terrorist attack or act. An intentional CBRN attack can leave great devastation after deployment, with a calculated plan to harm a large area with many individuals present when the attack occurs. These weapons are usually described as ‘low probability, high risk’, because of the relatively low risk of a CBRNe attack occurring but the high threat risk to public health upon an attack taking place in the environment.

The Risk of a Chemical Attack

The Risk of a Chemical AttackThe severity of an attack is dependent upon several different factors, particularly the toxicity of the chemical and its concentration when it reaches people. The release of a chemical agent or a chemical attack in an enclosed space (such as a subway, airport, or an office space) could deliver lethal doses, high enough to severely hurt or kill a large group of people. In comparison, when a chemical attack is deployed in an open area, a toxic chemical cloud, or plume, would become less concentrated as it spreads and would have to be released in a large quantity to produce significant casualties.

Immediate health impacts can start to effect humans upon exposure to a chemical agent that has been deployed during a chemical attack. Symptoms from exposure to toxic chemicals will start to appear quickly, sometimes a couple hours or even a couple minutes following exposure. The health risks alone from a chemical attack solidify the strength and devastation that a chemical attack can wreak over an environment.

CBRNe Terrorism

Terrorism or terrorist attacks that involve the use of CBRNe materials pose a very real and dangerous threat to public health and safety. Terroristic threats utilizing CBRNe weapons can also impact national security, economic, and political stability on a global level. When these types of weapons are deployed in an act of terrorism, the complete destruction could be insurmountable – leading to unrepairable effects on the human population and environment.

Preventing the risks of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons has been a top U.S. national security priority for a long period of time. The United States has become hyperaware and vigilant in preventing terrorist groups from obtaining these weapons to protect U.S. civilians. The main used devices for terrorist attacks include chemical, biological, and radiological weapons.

What are Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Devices?

CBR (Chemical, Biological, and Radiological) devices are without a doubt dangerous threats to public health and safety. Chemical, Biological, and Radiological devices produce airborne hazardous contaminants that can be in the form of gases, vapors, or aerosols. These types of airborne contaminants can be very dangerous as they enter the body rapidly and impact health within hours or even minutes after exposure.

What Does a CBRN Specialist Do?

Decontamination providers have focused on providing a means to protect individuals who are exposed and decontaminate the source of hazard in the environments. The way that these decontamination solutions are delivered to the appropriate field workers and experts (such as the Military, Emergency-Responders, and Hazmat) is through CBRN Specialists. The specialist has many job duties including assisting in CBRN defense measures, provide training advice and supervision of CBRN equipment, & operate CBRN detection and decon equipment.

The CBRN specialists’ job is quite complex and vital to the safety of a large population of people in the country, therefore, having efficient and easily deployed decon solutions is critical for the CBRN specialist. For example, a decontamination solution for chemical warfare such as FAST-ACT can help a CBRN specialist, especially given the fact that FAST-ACT does not require identification of the chemical deployed in the environment. FAST-ACT is a decontamination provider that utilizes a proprietary formulation that is able to break down and neutralize a broad spectrum of chemical agents including chemical warfare agents (CWAs). The FAST-ACT technology is adapted into several different applications for both liquid and vapor chemical hazard containment and decontamination.

Chemical Decontamination Solution for Chemical CBRNe Threats

The Importance of Medical Preparedness in CBRNe

The Importance of Medical Preparedness in CBRNe

By | chemical attack preparation, chemical attacks properness, Uncategorized

Medical PreparednessThere are many threats that plague the community whether it be from natural occurrences like weather, disease, or even from planned attacks taken out on a large population of people. Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNe) agents are some of the most toxic agents that can be used for attacks and war in the world. With the growing threat of these agents and their uses, the increased hazard to business and communities is significant.

Medical professionals are trained individuals that are prepared with a vast knowledge of health ailments and medical remedies that are capable to improve the circumstances of someone suffering from a chronic or acute ailment. Many health care professionals are trained on the day-to-day, commonly seen diseases and conditions that are mostly seen and treated. However, these professionals are not regularly taught the symptoms and medical solutions for exposure to or ingestion/inhalation of CBRNe agents.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Health care professionals are often times the first line of defense when it comes to identifying and treating patients that have unfortunately come into contact with the dangerous CBRNe agents. When a patient arrives with severe symptoms and time is of the essence – the pressure is on for the medical team to quickly come to the correct diagnosis and treatment for the patient’s future health. If someone is experiencing nausea, vomiting, and tremors – a physician who is inept in CBRN training can easily diagnose the patient with a number of other medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, or even an opioid overdose. Whereas medical professionals with a background or training in CBRN may consider a diagnosis of nerve agent exposure or even mild radiation sickness. Therefore, having medical preparedness in CBRN, especially our medical professionals can be life-saving.

CBRNE Training

The training for medical professionals on CBRNe agents is done through a four-day course that is designed to prepare responders to effectively respond to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) or mass casualty incident. This training is designed for emergency medical services, healthcare, public health, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and hospital staff- this includes physicians, nurses and responders.

Medical CBRNE training, The Emergency Medical Operations for CBRNE Incidents (EMO), provides classroom lectures and extensive hands-on-training that allows responders to implement the emergency-response knowledge and skills when the need for them occurs. This training is organized by the Center for Domestic Preparedness.

CBRN Preparedness Program

A relatively new initiative, the CBRN Preparedness Program (CP2) is designed to work with partnering nations to help them prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the effects of a CBRN disaster. Regardless, if a country is threatened by intentional use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or is susceptible to a natural disaster or industrial accident involving CBRN hazards, their ability to respond quickly and justly can save lives and reduce damage.

The program is geared towards training and equipping military and civilian first responders to deal with the absolute worst-case scenarios and in turn they will become a valued partner in the mission to identify, reduce, and eliminate WMD and their potentially devastating effects.

National Strategy for CBRNE Standards

Prior to several instances that have taken place with toxic CBRNE agents, there was no national strategy for CBRNE standards put in place. The pursuit for a national strategy is critical as it is vital that the nation has reliable countermeasure equipment and knowledge on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) agents. The strategy highlights the importance of medical preparedness and training for our first-responders and medical personnel workers. The importance for medical personnel to be trained in CBRN identification, treatment, and standards is essential to preventing mass casualties upon a potential CBRN agent outbreak.

 

The national strategy for CBRNE standards also consists of six goals, and they are as follows:

  1. Establish an interagency group for CBRNE standards to promote the coordination of these standards among Federal, State, local, and tribal communities.
  2. Coordinate and facilitate the development of CBRNE equipment performance standards and promote the use of standards for Federal, State, local, and tribal communities.
  3. Coordinate and facilitate the development and adoption of interoperability standards for CBRNE equipment.
  4. Promote enduring CBRNE standard operating procedures for Federal, State, local, and tribal use to improve National preparedness and response.
  5. Establish voluntary CBRNE training and certification standards for the Federal, State, local, and tribal communities and promote policies that foster their adoption.
  6. Establish a CBRNE equipment test and evaluation (T&E) infrastructure and capability to support conformity assessment standards.

Medical Preparedness for CBRN

With the numerous attacks and incidences that have occurred within the last decade or so the need and focus of medical preparedness has been highlighted. The way the United States health care system is able to respond to mass casualty incidents is important to protecting civilians. Training and preparing physicians and other medical personnel with CBRN awareness and identification will provide the healthcare worker with an understanding of chemical threat agent history, toxicology, medical intervention, etc.

CBRNe agents can be quite hazardous and sometimes deadly when contact or exposure occurs. There are many things that can be done to minimize the inherent health risks including environment and surface decontamination, protective gear, and medical preparedness upon release and exposure of these agents. Being prepared and having a preparedness plan in place will play a significant role in the reduction of risks to public safety following a CBRNe agent release or attack.

Decontamination Solution for CBRNe

How to Protect Against a Chlorine Gas Attack

How to Protect Against a Chlorine Gas Attack

By | chemical attack preparation, chemical attacks properness, terrorist attack preparation, Uncategorized

Chemical attacks utilizing a plethora of potentially deadly chemicals have been utilized in the past decades for warfare – impacting a large group of people in record amount of time, making chemical warfare a deadly threat to be reckoned with. There is a wide variety of lethal and even incapacitating chemical agents that can place a great hazard and danger to not only an area but to those exposed to the agent.

Humans may come into contact with chemical agents everyday whether that be because of the work environment (labs, plants, etc.), accidents, spills, or other disasters. However, the effects from these types of interactions are fairly minimal in comparison to large exposure in the form of a chemical attack.

One agent that we commonly hear news and reports of usage is the chemical agent Chlorine. Chlorine is a highly used chemical in both industries and in society and depending on the level of exposure to the agent – like a chlorine gas attack, the impact could be extremely hazardous to human health. With the threat of chemical attacks becoming more and more real, learning how to protect yourself against a threat like a chlorine gas attack could help you to sustain minimal health impacts and hazards.

What is Chlorine?

Chlorine is a very well-known chemical that is utilized commonly in everyday life. This chemical is used widely for chemical manufacturing, bleaching, drinking water and swimming pool disinfecting, and cleaning agents. Chlorine itself is a reactive chemical that when used on the human body can be very toxic. The production of chlorine is high making it an abundant chemical for people to get their hands on – including terrorist or planned attackers. When this chemical is released in an enclosed space or environment, that is when the strength of the attack is the strongest and the chemical can do the most destruction/harm.

How Dangerous is Chlorine Gas

Chlorine is a versatile chemical that can sometimes be in the form of a poisonous gas. Chlorine gas is a fast-acting gas that can spread quickly throughout the environment, staying closer to the ground. The odor that this dangerous chemical emits is easily recognized as a pungent odor, that is irritating to the senses, with an odor similar to bleach.

Chlorine gas was first registered in the U.S. in 1948, as a disinfectant for use in swimming pools and drinking water. The dangers of chlorine in the form of gas can be extremely hazardous and elicit reactions such as eye and throat irritation, airway obstruction, wheezing, coughing, abnormal chest radiographs, and bronchiolitis. Due to the ability of chlorine gas to spread quickly throughout the entire area, the impacts on the respiratory system is high and can result in serious health ailments- making chlorine gas quite dangerous to human health.

How Long Does Chlorine Gas Stay in the Air

There are many variables that play a role in the time the chlorine gas will be present in the environment. Two main variables include the size of the environment in which the gas was released into and the concentration/pressure of the gas. If chlorine gas is dispersed into a large area, then it will spread rapidly throughout the whole environment requiring more time to dissipate or be removed from the air. The amount of chlorine gas that is used and deployed also plays a role in the length of time the gas will stay in the air, the more chlorine released into the air the longer it will stay within the air of the impacted environment.

What Does Chlorine Gas Do to People

Chlorine gas can have a significant impact on a person –the gas acts as a pulmonary irritant that can cause damage to the upper and lower respiratory tract. This can include oral, nasal, and ocular pulmonary damage, which can lead to further ailments down the road. The chemical chlorine falls under the category of a choking agent as it can have altering effects on respiratory health. Most of the damage done by chlorine is caused by its dissolution into hydrochloric acid which can cause damage to inflammatory cells that lead to the release of oxidants and proteolytic enzymes. Overall, exposure to chlorine gas can be not only hazardous to humans but quite damaging to the health of those exposed.

Symptoms of Chlorine Gas Exposure

Upon exposure to chlorine gas there are many potential effects that may occur. The symptoms may vary based on different variables, but the most common symptoms include the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Burning pain, redness, and blisters on the skin
  • Burning sensations in the nose, throat, and eyes
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing

Could Chlorine Be Used for a Terrorist Attack?

Chemicals, depending on the type, maybe easy to obtain, such as chlorine. Chlorine is heavily produced and easily accessible to the public, which has led to concerns as those with mal-intent could utilize this chemical in a dangerous way, such as a terrorist attack. When or if chlorine is released from an attack it will form a toxic gaseous plume that when carried by the wind is able to inflict potentially debilitating and catastrophic loss of life to the exposed population. Therefore, preparing for and protecting yourself from a potential chemical attack with the use of chlorine gas is becoming almost necessary for military, first-responders, and even civilians.

Recent Chlorine Gas Attacks

The use of chlorine as a chemical warfare agent was first deployed in the early beginning of World War I. As it began to be used in more wars, the damage created by this agent was seen as it killed more than 800 soldiers in the battle of Ypres. More and more commonly this chemical has been used in recent wars including in Iraq, where they detonated bombs that were rigged onto containers of chlorine. The United Nations Monitoring, Inspection, and Verification Commission found that at least 10 attacks involving chlorine occurred in Iraq up to June 1, 2007 which results in many casualties. This has progressed as time has passed, and now the war in Syria has demonstrated several attacks of chlorine onto civilians, leaving devastation, death, and many health issues to the Syrians impacted.

How to Decontaminate Chlorine

If you are exposed to chlorine gas in any capacity, including spills, accidents, or attacks, be sure that a decontamination procedure and gear are available to put into action. Chlorine is a heavy chemical that is heavier than air, and due to the weight of the chemical it will accumulate in low-lying areas unless a strong wind is present. If you are not a trained individual on decontamination methods, you will want to promptly evacuate the area or go to higher ground to seek shelter from the hazardous gas. Chlorine gas can spread far, and wide so evacuation is advised for 3 miles downward of a small chlorine release, and 5 miles downwind for a major release, and anywhere within 1500 feet of the source.

Once a chlorine gas attack occurs, rapid action is required to decontaminate the air in the environment, as well as the surfaces that have become contaminated. Many times, however, it may be difficult to determine the exact chemical that has been released in an attack – which requires time, sometime a lot of time, to determine the chemical and subsequently the best decontamination method to implement. But what if there was a decontamination method for vapor and liquid chemical releases that did not require the identification of the chemical agent released?

FAST-ACT, a chemical neutralization and decontamination technology, is a patented decon method for vapor and liquid spills that have become a hazard to the environment and that require immediate neutralization/decontamination of the chemical agent. FAST-ACT has the ability to adsorb and neutralize the immediate threat of a broad spectrum of hazardous chemicals including chlorine gas releases. The decon gear/products of FAST-ACT contain a proprietary formulation that consists of a number of active ingredients including MgO that helps to neutralize hazardous acids such as chlorine. When the toxic chlorine gas comes into contact with FAST-ACTs proprietary powder, a stable adduct is formed, where the chlorine is chemisorbed on the metal oxide surface.

FAST-ACT Testing Against Chlorine Gas

To determine the effectiveness of FAST-ACT a sealed chamber (214 L) was charged with a given concentration (ppm) of chlorine gas. After charging the chamber, FAST- ACT was sprayed into the chamber using pressurized nitrogen. Ten (10) minutes was allowed to elapse and the concentration of chlorine was determined using Drager tubes. At a ratio of 100:1 FAST-ACT to chlorine, the percent reduction was 98% when the initial concentration of chlorine was 500 ppm. This data indicated that 1-Kg FAST-ACT unit is capable of complete chlorine vapor neutralization in a 1,000 cubic foot space filled with 200 pm of Cl2 vapor. Correspondingly, the 2-Kg unit will remove 400 ppm and the 4-Kg 800 ppm from a same sized space.

Chlorine gas and an attack utilizing this chemical agent could be hazardous and sometimes deadly to a large population of people that may become affected by the release. Therefore, learning the potential dangers and the decontamination methods for neutralizing chlorine gas can protect civilian’s life and our beloved military and first-responder members.

Public Event Protection from Toxic Chemical Releases

Public Event Protection from Toxic Chemical Releases

By | chemical attack preparation, chemical attacks properness, terrorist attack preparation

Public events present a large platform for terrorist or planned attackers to target. Public venues host a significant number of attendees, therefore the potential risk of a planned attack taking place is extremely heightened. After the tragic events that have taken place at big venue locations like the 2017 Las Vegas Shooting, the November 2015 Paris Attacks on Stade de France, and the Manchester Bombing in 2017 the imminent risk of attacks occurring in an organized public venue has been amplified significantly.

Planned Terrorist AttackIn an effort to reduce or completely eliminate the risk of terror threats or attacks, the United States developed the Department of Homeland Security in 2001, classified to “develop and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks.” A big goal of this United States department recently was to increase focus on building and venue protection – particularly following the evolution of gruesome attacks that have increased in these settings.

Large crowds of civilians in one area such as in a venue, arena, or anywhere that a gathering of people have amassed has become a major monitored area for officials – but the level of difficulty associated with monitoring a large area such as these presents a daunting task for police forces and government officials. Extensive planning is required in preparation of a large organized event occurring – including communication with local first responders and safety services and selecting the best means to effectively detect and protect the venue from hazardous weapons such as bombs, guns, and even chemical attacks that can severely hurt a large group of people.

This guide is designed to provide an overview of how to prepare and defend an event, public gathering, or venue from potential attacks or accidents involving volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxic chemicals, and even CWAs that could significantly affect a sizable gathering of civilians – as well as protecting those who protect us, like first responders. 

Background on the Importance of Venue Protection

Background on the Importance of Venue ProtectionTerrorist attacks in the United States is on a steady incline, with the growing issue taking over and increasing worry for civilians and most importantly the United States Government. The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, along with other international incidents such as the Tokyo subway attack with sarin gas, has forced the United States Congress to focus more on domestic preparedness for attacks that utilize Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

Preparedness starts with first-responders and police officials, providing proper training on how to deal with attacks, specifically involving chemical agents, is necessary for those designated with protecting civilians. The Domestic Preparedness Act was a bill funded by the U.S. Congress for training of emergency responders and acquisition of equipment to support their efforts. This law or bill has widespread impact on many organizations including the following:

  • Fire/HazMat (hazardous materials)
  • Police
  • EMS (emergency medical services)
  • Hospitals

Also, it is important for event staffers to receive security awareness training to help reduce the risk of attacks occurring during a venue event. Event staffers are many times the first line of defense in creating and maintaining a secure inner perimeter in and around a venue. Therefore, training workers to remain vigilant will help to improve overall security in a large public venue event.

Preparing for Terrorism at Public Events

Dealing with potential attacks or terrorism in a large public event requires careful planning and training in minimizing the risks and dangers to public safety. The Domestic Preparedness Act and the complete planning of first-responders creates an increase insight into the many difficulties and challenges of shielding and protecting a large group of gathered civilians. The greater understanding that officials have in relation to the hazards surrounding terrorism in public events, the more feasible it is to effectively prepare and combat risks at a lower level of danger to the public while still protecting civilians.

First responders and officials walk a fine-line in either over-responding or under-responding to an attack placed on a sizable amount of people.

Over-responding can taint community confidence and public support for the first-responding agencies if they view the actions taken as unnecessary, expensive, and/or time consuming.

Under-responding can lead to panic, mass hysteria, civilian injuries, and even death. Following the attack, news coverage could focus on the ill-preparation from response teams.

Chemical Attack & Release Preparedness

Chemical releases and attacks under ill-preparation will have devastating consequences, placing both first responders and the public at risk. The complications involving chemical releases, and/or a chemical attack is the inability to be able to monitor or get a cohesive description on the exact chemical that is released into the air and in the environment. Depending on the chemical that is released it will require different methods for neutralization of the agent and overall decontamination of the affected environment.

Dangers of Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) in Venue Attacks

Dangers of Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) in Venue AttacksTerrorists and other attackers have the potential to unveil a lethal chemical force upon civilians. These agents called, Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs), are chemical compounds designed to either kill or debilitate opposing military forces and is a major factor of concern for security and police experts who acknowledge the threat these chemicals present to civilians. Chemical warfare agents were originally developed from TICs (Toxic Industrial Chemicals) and TIMs (Toxic Industrial Materials) that were created by civilians. In turn, these chemicals have been utilized in attacks on civilians posing a lethal threat to the public in the event of its deployment. Although chemical attacks may appear obtuse and/or unlikely to occur there is a growing concern of chemicals being used as a weapon in large scale attacks – particularly with CWAs.

Weapons of mass destruction preparedness programs were primarily focused only on military CWAs, but it has become apparent that many other equally hazardous chemicals are widely available in many industries which can create an added risk to venues and other large-scale events. What preparedness tools or technologies should be available if or when an incident involving chemical agents occurs upon a group of civilians?

Chemical Neutralization & Decontamination Technology for Event Protection

FAST-ACT® is a proprietary formulation of non-toxic high-performance specialty materials effective at neutralizing a wide range of toxic chemicals with the added capability to destroy chemical warfare agents. The FAST-ACT formulation is non-flammable, noncorrosive, and significantly reduces both liquid and vapor hazards. Since the dry powder neutralizes threats upon contact, on-site incident management and clean up times are reduced.

FAST-ACT works quickly to significantly reduce hazards associated with common industrial chemicals including: acids, acidic/caustic gases, organic compounds, phosphorus and sulfur compounds, and many industrial solvents. By the nature of FAST-ACT’s innovative chemistry, hazards are chemically bound to the surface of the powder minimizing off-gassing.

Chemical Neutralization & Decontamination Technology for Event Protection

Tested by U.S. Soldier Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM) and Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), FAST-ACT is proven to remove over 99.6% (detection limit) of VX, GD (soman) and HD (mustard “gas”) from surfaces in under 90 seconds, converting them to safer by-products.

FAST-ACT is effective against a wide range of toxic chemicals including:

  • Acids
  • Halogenated compounds
  • Phosphorus compounds
  • Acidic and caustic gases
  • Organic compounds
  • Chemical warfare agents
  • Neutralizes both liquid and vapor hazards
  • Rapid-acting upon contact
  • Life-safety threat reduction
  • Reduces on-site management time and cost Non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-flammable Dry powder formulation Safe to apply to all liquid and vapor releases Easy to operate delivery systems
  • No premixing is required
  • All units are portable No special training required Effective over a wide range of temperatures and environmental conditions Compact containers for easy storage

FAST-ACT rapidly (under 2 minutes) treats a wide range of acids (e.g., hydrochloric, nitric, phosphoric and sulfuric), acidic and caustics gases (e.g., sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, anhydrous ammonia), oxidizers (ethylene oxide), organics such as alcohols (e.g.,methanol, ethanol), aldehydes (i.e., acetaldehyde), fuels (e.g., diesel, gasoline), aromatics (e.g., p-cresol), organic compounds containing heteroatom such as: sulfur (e.g., mercaptans), phosphorus (paraoxon, dimethyl methyl phosphonate) and nitrogen (4-vinyl pyridine, acetonitrile) and halogenated compounds (chloroacetyl chloride, acetyl chloride).

Venue Protection from CWAs

FAST-ACT’s efficacy against nerve agents GD, VX and blistering agent HD has been tested at Battelle and SBCCOM. The formulation was found to remove over 99.6% (detection limit) of these agents from surfaces within 90 seconds. In a subsequent step the agents are destroyed producing much safer products. In addition to the chemical warfare agents, FAST-ACT was found to destroy simulants of chemical warfare nerve, mustard, blood, and choking agents.

The FAST-ACT product line includes the following:

  • FAST-ACT 5 kg Bulk Pail: The 5 kg bulk pail can be safely applied where known or unknown chemicals are a potential threat. Typical applications include for Hazmat Team spill response and containment, sorbent in decon line shuffle pit, rapid covering of surfaces with decon powder, neutralization of unknown chemical mixtures, and industrial & commercial facility leaks.FAST-ACT 5 kg Bulk Pail
  • FAST-ACT 500-gram Shaker Bottle: The 500-gram shaker bottle can be safely applied to Hazmat teams small scale spill response, fine decon in conjunction with the FAST-ACT Decon Mitt, emergency onsite containment for first responders, laboratories in schools, hospitals, and commercial use, and lastly personal equipment containment and neutralization of containment.FAST-ACT 500-gram Shaker Bottle
  • FAST-ACT Decon Mitt: The Decon Mitt allows for safe and easy wiping and handling of chemical spills and neutralized industrial materials. Typical applications for the decon mitt include Hazmat Teams gear cleaning, military special forces and tactical equipment rapid decon, emergency surface decontamination – small scale, decon lines, and cleanup of unknown hazards.FAST-ACT Decon Mitt
  • FAST-ACT Mask (3pk): The FAST-ACT Mask can be safely applied where known and unknown chemicals are a potential threat. Typical applications include airway defense against vapor release and attacks, airway defense against toxic and noxious chemical malodors, and respiratory protection during chemical decontamination and cleanup.FAST-ACT Mask
  • FAST-ACT Pressurized Cylinder (Available in 1, 2, or 4 kg): The Pressurized Cylinders offer a solution for vapor or liquid chemical releases in both enclosed and large spaces. Typical applications include for Hazmat team’s airspace decontamination, neutralization of acidic gases, rapid decontamination of gear, enclosed spaces knockdown of vapor and odors, and decontamination of shelter/tent cleanup.FAST-ACT Pressurized Cylinder
  • FAST-ACT Microfiber Towel Pack: The Microfiber Towel Pack includes two microfiber towels, one to absorb the excess liquid chemical from the surface, and the other to contain the surface chemical decontamination with the FAST-ACT technology. Typical applications include surface decontamination, chemical decontamination of small and intricate items, and gear cleanup.FAST-ACT Microfiber Towel Pack
  • FAST-ACT Powder Bottle Pack: The Powder Bottle Pack can be utilized in conjunction with the FAST-ACT Microfiber Towel Pack or Decon Mitt, it can be applied for surface decontamination, chemical decontamination of small and intricate items, and gear cleanup. FAST-ACT Powder Bottle Pack
Tear Gas Effects & Protection for Civilians

Tear Gas Effects & Protection for Civilians

By | chemical attack preparation, chemical attacks properness

Have you ever witnessed a riot or large crowd that is increasingly growing more and more dangerous? Whether it be a local protest, fight, or demonstration a large group of people in an area can erupt into chaos, particularly for law enforcement officers. A major riot control agent, like tear gas can be used in many instances for security forces, but due to the nature of the chemical there are strict international guidelines in place around its use and the way in which it can be deployed against civilians for crowd control measures. How dangerous can tear gas be to human health and what can be utilized to protect yourself from this chemical agent?

Tear Gas vs CS GasTear Gas vs CS Gas

Tear gas is classified as a non-lethal irritant that contains a couple different chemicals, including a variant of capsaicin, but the gas most commonly used on protesters is “CS Gas”, or 2-chlorobenzalmalonitrile. According to “Tear Gas, With an Emphasis on Self Defense,” there are three kinds of tear gas a consumer can buy:

  • CS (chlorobenzylidenemalononitrile)
  • CN (chloroacetophenone) – often found in Mace
  • Pepper spray – made from chili peppers mixed with a vehicle like corn oil

What is CS Gas?

CS gas is among one of the most commonly used tear gases in the world. Law enforcement agencies and officials have found this agent valuable when faced with combative suspects, riot control, and for hostage and siege situations. Exposure to CS gas will cause distressing symptoms including lacrimation, eye pain, blepharospasm, a burning sensation in the nose & throat, chest tightness, sneezing, & coughing. CS gas starts to affect the environment and those exposed to it within 30 to 60 seconds after deployment.

What is CN Gas?

 CN gas, also known as Chloroacetophenone, is the active ingredient utilized in maze, to help as a riot control or tear agent for law enforcement officials. This gas has a sharp, irritating odor that disperses upon deployment. The CN gas can be absorbed by ingestion and inhalation in humans. CN has similar affects to CS gas and can include temporary loss of balance and even permanent skin damage. Overall, the effects of CN gas last longer than that of CS gas.

What is Pepper Spray?

The active ingredient in pepper spray is oleoresin capsicum (OC), a natural oil found in many types of hot peppers. Pepper spray is usually dispensed from an aerosol canister to disperse quickly into the environment. Exposure from pepper spray can result in blisters to the skin.

What Does Tear Gas Do to Human Health?

Tear gas, despite its name, is not a gas, but an aerosol. The chemical agent CS that is utilized in tear gas is a solid at room temperature and mixed with liquid or gas dispersal agents when used as a weapon designed to trigger the pain-sensing nerves. Tear gas works by triggering a reaction from the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs. According to the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, signed by nearly every country in the world, banned the use of tear gas in warfare but found it legal in domestic riot control. When tear gas is deployed the chemical can create a cloud that affects the area the discharge took place. The chemical cloud will affect a person’s eyes, nose, and respiratory system – and can illicit other health reactions.

The Effects of Tear Gas

Tear gas has strong and lasting effects on human health. This vapor release will potentially irritate the mucous membrane of the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs which can lead to tearing, coughing, burning, and stinging sensations. According to German toxicologist Uwe Heinrich, the dispersion of this chemical at a concentration of one milligram per cubic meter will cause symptoms of irritation. The overall composition of tear gas is designed to disable humans – rendering them from being able to fully function upon exposure.

This release also presents difficulty when removing from any impacted structure. Where tear gas is deployed, canisters are shot from launchers that heat the deployed canisters prior to its release, this helps increase area of dispersion more effectively. The particles that are released from the deployment are heavy and they settle eventually but can move from a powder state to gas under heat – which increases the likelihood of recontamination in the environment.

Tear Gas Protection Plan

There are many myths surrounding the different methods to implement for protection against tear gas, and it can be hard to see through them all. Some of the debunked myths include the following:

  • Soaking a bandana or cloth in apple cider vinegar and tightly covering your mouth with it.
  • Smearing lime or lemon juice on the inside of a cloth and tightly covering your mouth with it.
  • Soaking a bandana in water and tightly covering your mouth with it.
  • Smearing toothpaste under your eyes.
  • Or Sniffling a freshly cut onion

The chemical CN, utilized in tear gas is a potent, sharp, and irritating chemical that can be released into indoor air as fine particulate smoke, vapor, or liquid and due to the nature of this chemical many DIY protection methods simply fall short in providing real protection. For personal protection from tear gas, a protective mask is the best tool to implement. Tear gas is released into the air and can be inhaled or ingested when exposure occurs. In an effort to prevent chemical exposure and inhalation, utilizing a protective face mask can be critical. The FAST-ACT VapourKlenz Face Mask is ideal for toxic chemical vapor releases in the environment. FAST-ACT utilizes a patented earth mineral technology that is designed to attack and neutralize a broad spectrum of chemicals including chemical warfare agents (CWAs). Chloroacetophenone (CN), when dissolved in a solvent and released as an aerosol, FAST-ACT can interact with the compound at different active sites for neutralization. FAST-ACT also functions by knocking the liquid spray down when it has been released to an air space.

Tear Gas Neutralization

The Dangers of Acid Attacks in London

The Dangers of Acid Attacks in London: A List of the Most Corrosive Acids

By | chemical attack preparation, chemical attacks properness, Uncategorized

Violence was once predominately accomplished through the use of guns & knives, but as time has progressed attackers have turned to a new method of violence focusing on a new weapon – corrosive acids that have been deployed in many acid attacks that have increasingly occurred throughout the UK. The United Kingdom has one of the highest rates of acid attacks per capita in the world, according to the Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI).

Why has acid become the new weapon of choice among gang members and attackers? Acid use to be a weapon of last resort, however, due to its easy accessibility and the fact that it is hard to monitor has amplified the use of these acids in attacks ten-fold. Recently attacks in the UK have transpired on the streets – particularly to food delivery drivers in an effort to steal their scooters, on the London trains, and even in London nightclubs where frequent acid attacks have happened leading to a dangerous environment to many as the chemicals/acids quickly disperse into the air. What can be done to protect UK civilians from these dangerous attacks & chemicals?

The Rise of Acid Attacks

Acid attacks in London have increased dramatically in recent years, and lawmakers and the police force are now contemplating methods to make acids that are commonly used as weapons, more difficult to obtain for the general public.

Chief Superintendent Simon Laurence of Hackney borough in east London said, “that between 2015 and 2016, acid attacks have increased by 74%”. Between 2014 to 2016, acid attacks have steadily increased each year; 2014 saw 166 acid attacks, 2015 saw 261 acid attacks, and lastly 2016 saw a dramatic jump of 454 acid attacks. Last year also experienced a significant rise of acid attacks and was regarded as the worst year ever for these attacks, with more than 400 incidents reported in the six months to April 2017 alone!

The culprit for these steadily increasing acid attack statistics is primarily from gang disputes. The UK acid attackers saw a strong correlation of male victims, unlike many countries that saw about 80% of acid attacks against women. This could be due to the high poverty and lack of opportunities for many young men in London that are led into the world of gang violence.

What is an Acid Attack – and Why is it so Lethal

Acid attacks, also known as acid throwing, is a form of violent assault explained as the act of throwing corrosive acid onto somebody’s body with the intention of significantly harming, disfiguring, or killing the intended victim. The most common acid used in these attacks are sulpheric acid, which is found in car batteries. Also, commonly used is nitric and hydrochloric acids.

These acids when thrown onto a person’s body will start to melt the flesh, sometimes to the bone, and leave permanent scarring or even physical disfigurement. The overall long-term consequences of these lethal acid attacks can include blindness, permanent scarring of the face or body, and also social, psychological, or economic difficulties.

Identifying the Most Corrosive Acids Used in These Attacks

Buying corrosive acids have never been so easy to purchase as they are now. Well-known high street chains and online outlets make it increasingly easy to purchase sulphuric acid as well as other corrosive acids with just a few clicks of your computer mouse. Scary, right?

Acid attacks typically utilize different chemistries of corrosive acids and chemicals in these planned attacks. The chemistries involved can include acid family, base family, vapor threats, and toxics. Each of these different chemistries can interact and create different results when exposure occurs, understanding the different acids/chemicals in each category and the best solution to implement to neutralize the release or dispersant of these agents can help to minimize exposure risks to civilians.

Acid Family

Corrosive, can quickly damage the skin, eyes, and rapidly go into the vapor phase upon release. These are all dangerous characteristics of acid chemicals composed of the acid family utilized in acid attacks. The major forms of acid in this category include the following:

  • Sulfuric Acid: This acid is commonly found in common household products such as drain cleaner and fertilizer and is a clear, colorless, and odorless liquid. This dangerous chemical is capable of corroding the skin, paper, metals, and even stone in some cases. If this chemical makes direct contact with your eyes it can cause permanent blindness and if it is internally ingested it can even cause internal burns, irreversible organ damage, and possible death.
  • Nitric Acid: Nitric acid is a colorless or yellow liquid with a caustic odor and extremely corrosive properties. This chemical is used in the manufacturing of a wide variety of products including explosives, ammunition, rocket propellant, inks & dyes, aging pine and maple wood, and commercial cleaning agents. The acid is extremely corrosive, capable of causing severe chemical burns very rapidly.
  • Hydrochloric Acid: Approximately 20 million tons of hydrochloric acid are produced globally every year, and you can even find this acid in your home. This acid is corrosive and if it comes into contact with the skin, eyes, or internal organs the damage can be irreversible or even fatal.
  • Chromic Acid Solution: An acid solution that is identified as a human carcinogen. This acid can affect your breathing and can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs causing coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
  • Formic Acid: Commonly used as a preservative and antibacterial agent in livestock feeds – this acid pesticide is a clear, colorless liquid with a strong odor. When exposure to this acid occurs, you can expect burning of the skin or eyes, as well as respiratory irritation.

To effectively combat these corrosive substances, a need for an efficient neutralization agent like FAST-ACT is high. FAST-ACT works by converting the inorganic acids to metal salts and water. Once FAST-ACT is deployed the proprietary technology works to contain and neutralize the acids to a safer pH.

Base Family

Chemical bases utilized in many acid attacks are both corrosive and can significantly damage the skin & eyes. The major forms of bases in this category include the following:

  • Potassium Hydroxide: A chemical base that is commonly found in drain and pipeline cleaners & bleaching agents. This corrosive substance can be damaging to the eyes, the skin, and the respiratory tract. Potassium Hydroxide can be absorbed into the body by inhalation – particularly when acid attacks occur.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: Sodium hydroxide is a chemical found in industrial solvents and cleaners, including drain cleaners and oven cleaners. This chemical is a strongly irritating and corrosive substance that can cause severe burns and permanent damage to any tissues that come into contact with this base.

To effectively combat these corrosive substances, a need for an efficient neutralization agent like FAST-ACT is high. FAST-ACT works by suppressing the vapor & containing the liquid with the excess FAST-ACT bringing its pH into a safe range.

Vapor Threats

Chemical & liquid threats used in many acid attacks can corrode and cause severe respiratory issues as it rapidly expands to fill the air space. The major vapor threats released in an acid attack include the following:

  • Ammonia: Ammonia is one of the most commonly produced industrial chemicals in the United States. This chemical is found in many household and industrial-strength cleaning solutions. Ammonia gas is released into the air and quickly disperses due to the fact it is lighter than air. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in the air will cause immediate burning of the nose, throat, & respiratory tract.
  • Chlorine: Chlorine is a chemical used in industry and household cleaning products. The substance is among the ten highest volume chemicals made in the United States. Chlorine can enter the body as a result of breathing, swallowing, or skin contact with the substance. The acid is corrosive and can damage cells in the body upon contact.

To effectively combat these corrosive substances, a need for an efficient neutralization agent like FAST-ACT is high. FAST-ACT works by interacting with Chlorine to form MgCl, as well as the nitrogen in ammonia react with the metal in the FAST-ACT metal oxides and OH groups. Upon contact with FAST-ACT, chlorine will be knocked down and neutralized and ammonia will be knocked down and contained.

Toxics

Toxics found in acid attacks are compounds that impact the central nervous system upon exposure. The major toxic substances you may be exposed to during an acid attack include the following:

  • Sodium Nitrite: This compound is commonly used in the manufacturing of fertilizers and explosives. Sodium nitrite is an odorless, yellowish white chemical that when exposed can affect the respiratory system, eyes, and skin. High levels of exposure to sodium nitrite can reduce the blood’s ability to transport Oxygen, leading to headaches, dizziness, and a blue color to the skin and lips.
  • Thiofanox: Thiofanox is a colorless solid with a pungent odor, that is classified as a carbamate pesticide. This chemical is widely used in homes, gardens, and agriculture. When exposure to this pesticide occurs headaches, salivation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea can plague the exposed individual.
  • Zinc Phosphide: A dark grey solid with an odor similar to that of decaying fish. Zinc phosphide is used as a rat and mice poison that is on the Hazardous Substance List. Chronic health effects that can occur from major exposure to this substance include potential cancer and reproductive hazards, irregular heartbeat, and damage to the liver and kidneys.

To effectively combat these corrosive substances, a need for an efficient neutralization agent like FAST-ACT is high. FAST-ACT interacts with the Nitrogen, Phosphorous, or Sulfur of the compounds to break the bond with the large molecule resulting in a byproduct bound to the FAST-ACT material resulting in neutralization.

Acid Attack Neutralization Solution

Treating not only an acid attack victim but also the environment in which the acid attack took place is critical to minimize exposure to others from the abrasive & corrosive acids used in these hazardous attacks.

The first step to implement when someone has been attacked with acid is to make sure the area where the incident took place is safe and take the necessary actions to ensure the corrosive acids and substances are neutralized. The many different chemical families used in these attacks are problematic for responders because of the various mechanisms needed to address all of the present substances in the environment. First responders would have to test and determine what mechanisms to use to neutralize the substances. However, a solution like FAST-ACT can address both liquid and vapor threats from the Acid, Base, Vapor, & Toxic categories, including CWAs.

Acid Attack Neutralization

Secondly, you will want to treat the victim by dousing the burn with water for at least 20 minutes. Try to gently remove any clothing with the substance on it and call first responders ASAP for treatment.

The steady increase of acid attacks in the UK has not gone unnoticed, as plans of recourse are being strategically made in an effort to reduce this growing number of acid attacks. Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd has a plan to ban the sale of corrosive substances to those under the age of 18. However, being prepared – particularly the police in the UK, as well as other countries – with the necessary solution for acid attack neutralization is vital in helping to reduce the imminent threats present in the environment.

 

Methods of Chemical Decontamination for Chemical Spills

Top Methods of Chemical Decontamination for Chemical Spills: Pro’s vs Cons

By | chemical spill clean up, Uncategorized

Chemical spills and threats have become somewhat of a common occurrence in recent news with more and more incidents arising outside of the normal parameters of the typical chemical environment such as laboratories or chemical plant. Recently, chemical spills have happened with large semi-trucks filled with a “toxic” chemicals that have been releasing these chemicals onto the roadways – leaving a large decontamination job for HAZMAT to clean up and a huge risk factor to many civilians who could be potentially exposed. Each and every chemical decontamination will vary depending on the chemical spill at hand, making it difficult to deploy one specific guide for every chemical decontamination that is performed. However, what if there was a one-stop-shop chemical decontamination procedure you can take with almost every chemical spill? Below we are going to compare the main types of chemical decontamination for chemical spills and the benefits and cons of each to conclude the overall best process to utilize for future chemical spills & decon.

What is Decontamination

Decontamination is the process of removing or neutralizing materials that have come into contact with or on personnel or equipment during a spill. Decontamination is set in place to minimize exposure and protect workers from the potentially hazardous substances. The first priority of the decontamination process is to avoid contact with the material or substance at all costs and establish a decontamination zone to block off to other people. Then, depending on the type of chemical spill present you will need to conclude the best type of decontamination procedure to implement.

The most important and most effective decontamination of any chemical exposure is that decontamination is done within the first minute or two after exposure to the chemical agent. There are many different problems associated with potential decontaminants such as irritation of the skin, toxicity, ineffectiveness, or even high costs. The ideal decontamination will be rapid and completely neutralize all chemical agents.

Who Utilizes Chemical Decontamination Procedures

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) decontamination is the removal of CBRN material from equipment or humans. The military, first responders such as the fire and police departments, and HAZMAT teams are all trained and ready to deploy decontamination procedures quickly and effectively when need be. Chemical incidents can arise from an array of chemical accidents, human error, or a deliberate chemical attack, no matter what the circumstance before you are, being prepared with a set of decontamination procedures is critical.

Hazmat Decontamination Procedures

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a hazmat response team is an “organized group of trained personnel operating under an emergency response plan and appropriate standard operating procedures who handle and control actual or potential leaks and spills of hazardous materials”. Most Hazmat teams believe water is good, soap and water are better, and chlorine bleach solutions are best when dealing with either a chemical or biological agent. Chlorine bleach is a widely used method for decontamination, however, chlorine bleach is quite potent and can cause severe damage to the skin and even blindness if contact occurs in your eyes.

Different Methods of Chemical Decontamination

Different Methods of Chemical Decontamination

Chemical spills can be found in various forms from gas, liquid, solid, fumes, dust, fibers, or vapors. When any of these types of spills happen various methods of decontamination can be deployed including acid and base neutralizers, all-purpose absorbents, oil only absorbents, hazardous liquid absorbents, spill kits, decontaminating foams, and spill containment and material handling products. The list of different decontamination methods can vary in effectiveness, procedures, and implementation.

Solid Commercial Neutralization

This method of chemical decontamination is used to treat only one type of chemical hazard. Therefore, a pre-treatment hazard identification is mandatory. Solid commercial neutralizers are used to treat only liquid hazards & can generate a significant level of heat that have the potential to become hazardous – and with excess of the neutralizer, a possibly corrosive situation is created.

Spill Kits

Chemical spill kits are a popular decon solution, particularly for laboratories and factories. However, chemical spill kits have many disadvantages including the time required to complete the decontamination process and the knowledge of the chemical present along with the ideal solution needed to neutralize the agent. Spill kits have separate products for acids, caustics, and solvents, and thus identification is required before treatment. And if the kit is applied improperly a dangerous product could form. Also, this method of decontamination is only applicable for liquid spills and cannot treat vapor hazards. If you are trying to neutralize Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) and organic hazards, a spill kit will not be an effective decontamination method to implement.

Chemical Spill kitUniversal Neutralizer

Universal Neutralizing Sorbent is an effective decontamination method to clean up battery acids and bases, even hydrofluoric acid. This decon method can be applied to contain a liquid spill but is not effective towards the destruction of CWAs or any organic hazards – as well as vapor release decontamination.

Sorbent Based Decontamination Products

Sorbent based decontamination products were designed to be effective against chemical warfare agents such as Soman, Mustard, VX, etc. However, this decontamination method is not effective at neutralizing and eliminating most toxic industrial chemicals. Also, sorbent based decon products are only effective at liquid spills and not vapor releases.

Liquid Decontamination Products

The majority of liquid decontamination products such as bleach or DS2 are corrosive products – and these liquid decontaminants are primarily used to treat Chemical Warfare Agents. Liquid decon products cannot be used on metals such as potassium or sodium and they are not effective against a wide range of toxic industrial chemicals. Most liquid decontamination products are water based and cannot be used at sub-zero temperatures – and most importantly, this decon method does not treat vapor releases in the environment.

Foams

Decontamination foam is a spray-on cleaning solution that has a longer residence time on contaminated surfaces than regular liquids. This decon method is essentially water and a surfactant that creates an aqueous film forming foam that various reactive chemicals are then added to, resulting in the reduction of contaminants on the surface. Decontaminating foams are designed to treat chemical and/or biological warfare agents. This decon method has a large logistical burden due to water and ancillary equipment requirements as well as a need for premixing. Since decon foam is water based, they cannot be used in below freezing temperatures.

FAST-ACT (First Applied Sorbent Treatment – Against Chemical Threats)

Liquid & Vapor Chemical DecontaminationFAST-ACT is a proprietary formulation of non-toxic nano materials that are effective at neutralizing a wide range of toxic chemicals with the added capability to destroy chemical warfare agents. This decon method is effective against a wide range of toxic chemicals including acids, halogenated compounds, phosphorous compounds, acidic and caustic gases, organic compounds, and chemical warfare agents. FAST-ACT is offered in pressurized cylinders capable of addressing both liquid and vapor hazards as well as manually dispersed containers for liquid hazard treatment. This decon method is effective against a broad range of chemical hazards and eliminates the need for multiple products, making FAST-ACT a one-stop-shop for any chemical decontamination.

With FAST-ACT, containment and/or neutralization efficacy greater than 95% is achieved for most toxic chemicals within 2 minutes. Within 90 seconds over 99.6% (detection limit) of warfare agent is removed from surfaces. In 10 minutes 99% of GD and over 99.9% of VX is destroyed. After 60 minutes 70-80% of HD is neutralized.

*No Training is Required to Deploy FAST-ACT

Chemical decontamination is vital for rapid and effective neutralization of hazardous chemical spills and releases. Decontamination is time consuming and requires resources to accomplish complete elimination, therefore being well-versed in the different chemical decon methods and their effectiveness can aid in the ideal decon selection for the most complete chemical spill decontamination.

Carfentanil exposure

Carfentanil Exposure: Everything to Know About the Elephant Tranquilizer Drug

By | Uncategorized

The synthetic opioid crisis has catapulted in recent years with the expansion of opioids and their effects on human health significantly magnified. Synthetic opioids are man-made drugs that replicate the effects of a natural opioid. These engineered opioids are designed to reduce pain and create a euphoric reaction, thus their appeal to drug abusers. As the opioid crisis has expanded, the list and dangers have both grown, with new and extremely hazardous synthetic opioids such as carfentanil being used in the illicit drug market.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is under a massive opioid crisis that is sweeping the nation. This horrible epidemic of synthetic opioid drug abuse has killed an estimated 42,000 people in 2016. The dangers are not limited to drug users, however. Health workers and emergency responders are also at risk of exposure to these hazardous synthetic opioids found on the job. The DEA has even placed public wide warnings on the health and safety risks of carfentanil and exposure to carfentanil as this synthetic opioid is known to be extremely hazardous to public health and those exposed to the opioid on the job.

What is Carfentanil & It’s EffectsWhat is Carfentanil & It’s Effects

Carfentanil is an extremely powerful analog of fentanyl, that contains the potency of fentanyl magnified by 100. Due to its extreme strength and level of danger, carfentanil is not approved for use in humans in any form. One of the main uses of carfentanil is to act as an elephant tranquilizing drug.

Fun fact: An elephant weighs close to 15,000-pounds, an estimated 75 times that of a 200-pound adult male. To tranquilize an elephant, it will only require a small dose of 10 mg of carfentanil to complete this task.

Carfentanil was first synthesized by Janssen Pharmaceutical’s team of chemist in 1974. It has since become incorporated into the synthetic opioid drug market for illicit drug use. Carfentanil has more recently been found in cutting heroin and even in fentanyl sold illicitly. Law enforcement and emergency responders have warned that illicitly produced and sold carfentanil looks similar to other drugs found on the street such as cocaine and heroin, due to its white, odorless appearance.

Carfentanil Effects to Humans

Fentanyl and its analogs – carfentanil – can enter into the body through a multitude of entries including inhalation, ingestion, or intravenous or intramuscular injection. Upon exposure to carfentanil through any of these passageways, the human body and the brain will begin experiencing immediate effects. Carfentanil instantly binds to opioid receptors in your brain, which will begin overtaking the neural chemistry, thus leading to overdose symptoms not far after. This synthetic opioid will also impact receptors that control breathing, which is why this synthetic opioid is typically associated with irregular breathing. Included in the list of effects and symptoms created by carfentanil include:

  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach problems
  • Confusion
  • Respiratory issues
  • Slowed depressed breathing
  • Disorientation
  • Sedation
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Clammy skin

What’s the Difference Between Fentanyl and Carfentanil

Determining the differences between the synthetic opioids fentanyl and carfentanil can be challenging to determine to the illicit drug user and even for first responders and hazmat. The key characteristics of each of these synthetic opioids includes the following:

Potency:

The differences between fentanyl and carfentanil for one, is the potency of both. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that fentanyl is similar to morphine but is about 50 to 100 times stronger than that of morphine. Whereas carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times stronger than morphine.

Appearance:

Fentanyl is often formed as a powder – usually white in color – and can often be combined with other illicit drugs including heroin, cocaine, and crack. Recently, fentanyl is being constructed to look like pills such as prescription pills (OxyContin and Percocet). Carfentanil looks very similar to that of fentanyl – as it too is a white powdery substance that looks like cocaine or heroin.

Risk Level: 

Fentanyl, specifically illicit fentanyl is a much more hazardous compound than everyday pharmaceutical opioids. Detecting fentanyl can be difficult due to the fact that this synthetic opioid is often hard to see, smell, or even taste! Thus, the hazard is extremely heightened as your senses are unoptimizable in conjunction with this opioid. Carfentanil, on the other hand, contains extreme levels of risk, even more so than fentanyl! It only requires a very small dosage of carfentanil – the size of a grain of salt – is enough to kill a human.

What’s the Difference Between Fentanyl and Carfentanil

Synthetic Opioids Potency Hazards to Humans

Synthetic opioids have gained an increased demand as illicit drug users have turned to this less expensive alternative. The increased use of synthetic opioids can be associated with a sharp rise in overdoses and deaths in the United States. Not to mention synthetic opioids present a heightened risk to emergency workers and first responders. Responders are more likely to encounter illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids when on calls and therefore the risk to their health from exposure is severe. Exposure to some hazardous synthetic opioids can result in rapid onset of potentially life-threatening respiratory depression. As the risks have increased, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has amped up their protocols in an effort to protect our first responders from the hazards presented by synthetic opioids.

Hazmat and First Responders Carfentanil Protection

Fentanyl and carfentanil are on the rise, and with more and more clandestine laboratories producing these synthetic opioids and the overall increase in the distribution of these opioids, the need for protocol to first responders and hazmat is almost required. The DEA has outlined an extensive guide on how a first responder should handle a situation involving synthetic opioids and what protective equipment is necessary in this circumstance. The equipment necessary for first responders and hazmat include the following:

  • Naloxone (Narcan): Naloxone is an antidote specifically designed for opioid overdoses, including fentanyl and its analogues – such as carfentanil. If someone is experiencing a synthetic opioid overdose, by properly administering this antidote it can restore normal breathing and consciousness in the individual. Depending on the synthetic opioid (fentanyl, carfentanil) several doses of Narcan will need to be administered – usually every 2 to 3 minutes until breathing is restored. First responders should be supplied with this antidote on all occasions.
  • Nitrile Gloves: Nitrile gloves are the appropriate protection to wear on your hands when handling and sampling any suspected drugs including fentanyl and other potent synthetic opioids. Having sets of nitrile gloves “on hand” during crime scene investigating is critical, particularly dark colored gloves that show white powder residue left behind from fentanyl and carfentanil.
  • Respiratory Protection: Respiratory protection with an air-purifying respirator is needed on hand for first responders and hazmat workers. Air-respirators come in different variations including half and full-face protection. Synthetic opioids can become airborne and inhaled through nose, mouth, and skin leading to potential overdose and even death. Therefore, having an effective air-purifying respirator to neutralize synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil is very important for first responder’s health.
  • Decontamination Gear: Decontamination of carfentanil is no easy feat, as the potency is so magnified that a stronger solution is necessary for complete decontamination of carfentanil. Carfentanil is in the same chemical family as fentanyl but contains a more complex chemistry. Additionally, carfentanil contains an extra carboxyl group and this makes this synthetic opioid more vulnerable to react with the metal oxides of FAST-ACT. FAST-ACT offers a level protection that has never been seen before. This decontamination line utilizes a patented earth mineral technology that is highly reactive against a broad spectrum of chemicals including chemical warfare agents. Once the FAST-ACT products are released/ applied, the threat level will immediately be reduced.

Carfentanil and other fentanyl analogues can have a significant impact on health of illicit drug users and emergency/first responders who come into contact with this elephant tranquilizer drug. By carefully preparing for exposure to these synthetic opioids and having proper protocol to follow can help to ensure the limitation of incidents occurring to our first responders on the scene of crimes involving these synthetic opioids.