Personal Protection and Public Protection in Chemical Weapons Attacks Toni Leikas Environics
Agenda Why Chemical Weapons? Countermeasures against CWA Attack Personal Protection of the Authorities Chemical Agent Response is 3-Step process Public Protection Summary
Why Chemical Weapons? The high numbers of potential casualties and effect to the mass behaviour. Chemical weapons can effect peoples, plants, animals, buildings, roads and terrain to prevent these areas free access. Chemical weapons forcing the authorities to wear highly restrictive protective equipment and forcing the public to fear possible new attacks. Chemical weapons can enter the body through the skin, eyes, ingestion and respiratory tracts by killing, seriously injuring or incapacitating unprotected personnel.
Countermeasures against CWA attack –The Critical First Ten Minutes! The first ten (10) minutes of the action are crucial to manage the hazard in successfully. Estimation and assessment based on all the information from the incident scene. The first estimation of the incident must be made CBRNE hazard or specifically Chemical weapons attack? Accident or criminal act against the public and society? Threat assessment; No threat or low threat level Medium threat level High or very high threat level
Personal Protection of the Authorities Four level of physical Protection; Levels A, B, C and D. The levels determined by the skin and respiratory protection provided by the selected chemical protective ensemble. The PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) places an increased level of mental and physiological stress on operators. Always suspect an airborne hazard is present and approach the scene from the upwind. The protection level need constantly control and revalue, because wounded operator cause extra burden for the rescue staff.
Personal Protection Levels Level A The greatest level of skin and respiratory protection is required. Totally encapsulating suit with gloves and boots attached with SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus). Level B The highest level of respiratory protection is required, but lesser level of skin and eye protection is required. Non-encapsulating, chemical –resistant suit with SCBA Minimum level recommended for initial entry until hazard has been identified Level C The airborne substance is known and is beginning monitored. Full face respirator with proper filter and chemical agent resistant suit. Level D Not provide any respiratory or skin protection. Tyvek-style light suit, protection glass, breathing mask, gloves and shoe covers.
Why Is Gas Detection Important? Responders cannot rely on their senses for decision making. Detection technologies supplement our senses when those fail us. Detectors become our eyes and ears. Risk Based Response: to response at the lowest level necessaty to prevent undue risk to responder while protecting public. Over responding protection causes panic to public and unnecessary worry. Proper used detection allows responders to response at lower levels of PPE to provide the highest levels to themselves and to the public. 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4
Chemical Agent Response is a 3-Step Process 1) Locate the possible release and reason for the incident. Use common sense, survey tools and clues. Location shoud take seconds to minutes. 2) Classified the located chemical agent. Gets general idea of the kind of threat using common sense, classification technologies and clues. Classification should takes seconds to minutes. 3) Identification of the chemical is important for further action, like medical. Identification response time can range from 60 seconds to more than 15 minutes. The detectors are smart as the user! Today detectors need to be also detect CWA and TICs simultaneously and need to have multiple use.
Public Protection In the chemical hazard the most important task is to prevent public access to contaminated area and rescue those who already are there. Incident commander (IC) defines hazard area, protection area and protection level and isolate the hazard area. The rough hazard area estimation is better to be too large. It is easy to reduce by the situation. Chemical classification as soon as possible can decrease the hazard and isolation area. Public Protection
Public Protection – Hazard Area Prediction Hazard estimations and predictions are only calculation and estimation by good guess. One example of discrepancy between the prediction and reality: Plume can get channeled by streets near the source and end up traveling of the prevailing wind direction. Determined evacuation zones: the plume initially may be transported in direction of-angle from prevailing wind. Once plume dispersal above buildings it travel with prevailing wind, BUT its central axis will be offset from release point. There are solutions to detect real threat and determine in real-time hazard area. Mobile monitoring systems for chemical incidents.
Public Protection – Hazard Management Several multi-use monitoring units with wireless connection will be set up around the incident area and predicted hazard estimation. With hazard management software incident commander see the real-time actual contaminated area. Mobile systems are tools to for incident commander to make right rescue measures in high stress situation to save lives and rescue staff manpower for the rescue tasks. The hazard and situation assessment is a continuous: What, when, why, where, how etc… Logistics, medic, decontamination, press, cordon, isolation, public, specialist, resources…
Summary The use of chemical weapons against the citizen is always nationwide emergency. Co-operating is the key to the successful. Detect – Locate – Classified – Identified. Protection level needs to define in every time by the incident. Remember that over responding can be dangerous to public by causing panic. The public protection measures are carried out before the actual chemical attacks. Professional and proper equipped units create credible defense against chemical weapons attack.