CBRNe News July 2010
Sometimes a Great Nation…
American Science and Engineering received a $6.7 million order for ZBV trailers, from an undisclosed US government agency. AS&E’s Z-backscatter trailers, the Russian sounding ZBV, has been a big hit for the company and this year their award tally is $48.8 million. The system is their portable version of their backscatter portals and has been used by a wide range of agencies.
MSA announced the launch of their ExtendAire II System, an integrated rescue hose that allows firefightersto easily, and safely, connect and breathe from a fellow firefighters SCBA if their air has run out. The system utilises a quick connect system and check valves to ensure that neither host, nor ‘parasite,’ are exposed to ambient air.
Take that Bees, now we have pigeons!
CBRN apiarists around the world hung their heads when they heard that the latest bête de jour might be the pigeon and not their yellow and black friends. The US Airforce announced that they would be using their spy pigeon in potential CBRN roles. Sadly, however, these are just drones (and not of the bee kind) and are designed to fly in flocks with a range of optical sensors – but chemical ones have also been mooted – to clandestinely observe troop movements and facilities. Sadly for ‘twitchers’ lesser known birds – such as the Great Auk, or Dodo – have been discounted for the humble pigeon. Hopefully the chemical variant will come in a smaller, yellower version…
Sound off, Stand Off!
Avir Sensors announced that they are continuing to develop their Chemsight, open path infrared spectrometry chemical detector. The system works by having a source and a detector, both with line of sight of each other, with the detector analysing any changes in the received beam. The sensor is Safety Act compliant and is on trial in a variety of sites, including Metro stations.
A Mighty Wind
Zephyr Technology announced that their Performance Status Monitor (PSM) was achieving great things with a range of customers. They announced that Phase 1, of a spiral development, was delivered to US Special Forces. Their Phase 1 built on their real time remote monitoring of vital signs by adding to the sensor suite (SpO2, Blood Pressure and Medic) and allowed increased comfort when worn with body armour.
Prince George County within Maryland Fire/Emergency Medical Service Department also tested the PSMat their training academy, how were very impressed with the information it provided. This was after a body of research done at the Human Performance Laboratory of the University of Wisconsin showed that the system could also be used to monitor, and then improve, human performance, in a range of activities from sporting to fire and rescue.
Personnel Changes: TimoJaakola has been promoted to be Environics USA’s Chief Operating Officer, prior to this he had been their Chief Technical Officer.
Artistic temperament, sweetie dahling…
Ontario Supreme Court convicted failed actor Adel Arnaout, who has sent water bottles laced with ricin and home made bombs to 11 people. The devices had been sent to talent agencies, that were ‘not promoting him properly,’ and to legal bodies and have resulted in an indefinite sentence. The actor claimed that he wanted to scare his foes and confuse the police, unfortunately he succeeded in the former, but not in the latter.
Them, not us!
Iran’s envoy to the OPCW urged the disclosure of Western nations that had sold chemicals to Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war for use as munitions. The Envoy went on to say that the 'The world community should ask for the trial of the U.S. and 14 European countries for selling chemical weapons' reported the Government Security Newswire.
Good idea, thinks CBRNe World, but let’s take it further and also push for the prosecution of those countries that also sold chemicals to Iran for the same use – and while we are at it we can prosecute those members of their theocracy and military that were involved in Iran’s purchase and use during the same conflict. Oh yes, that’s right… Didn’t happen, we all imagined it…
Surprise to no-one…
After years of ‘Well, we’ll believe it when it happens,’ the Russian government finally admitted to the OPCW that it would not meet it’s chemical weapon disposal deadline, of April 29, 2012. The new estimated date is 2015, which is also ambitious, but Russia is confident (again) that they will be able to meet it.
DHS has put some force behind their Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards by cracking down on companies that are failing to conform with security regulations that were established in 2007. 18 chemical companies received orders to complete their security plans within 10 days, or face further enforcement activity.
For the Commonwealth
DRDO, the Indian Research and Development Organisation (see CBRNe World Summer 10), has been chosen to train a special Indian Army unit to defuse and make sage ‘dirty bombs.’ With only a couple of months to go it seems a bit short of time, but the teams will be asked to detect and defuse non-conventional weapons.
Sitting in Biological matter
President Obama issued an Executive Order for changes in the way that Biological Select Agents and Toxins (BSAT) are secured. The Order, called Optimising the Security of BSAT in the US, directs government institutions, like the DHHS and USDA, to institute a number of changes to their implementation of the Select Agent Program, and to introduce a tiered system which will allow them to be risk categorised. Those agents in the highest tier will have targeted, improved, security measures attached, including facility and personnel screening.
‘Is there a CBRN doctor in the house?’ ‘Why, yes there is…’
DHHS announced a $309.5 million contract to improve preparedness for disasters, including CBRN, in hospitals throughout the US. The Hospital Preparedness Program will award grants for community resilience by increasing hospitals and healthcare facilities ability to respond. As well as extra communications and beds, funds will be provided for hospital evacuation and shelter in place.
The US Army Surgeon General’s office received clearance from the FDA to bring avian flu diagnostic capability to the warfighter with the addition of the bird flu into JBAIDS capability set. This processes was set in train by a collaboration between the CDC and the DoD’s JPEO CBD – specifically the CBMS JPO (Chemical Biological Medical Systems Joint Project Management Office-Biosurveillance, to be exact), USAMRIID and USAMMDA (U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity). Idaho Technologies’ JBAIDS has been rolled out to 300 sites across the world and their new assay will provide improved diagnostic capability to the medical corps.
Y-12 Exercise gets ‘Must Try Harder…’
Y-12’s Purification Facility, where non-nuclear material used in nuclear warheads known as Fog Bank is stored, held an exercise where they noted a number of weaknesses in their response. Their office admitted that there was room for improvement, but stated that this was why people had exercises.
The scenario was based on the ignition of an acetonitrile (ACN) spill, which produced hydrogen cyanide (HCN) as a decomposition product. The findings were that participants did not understand the hazards associated with ACN and HCN, that they did not realise that the HCN plume would dissipate after the fire was extinguished, that field monitoring deployed 80 minutes after the fire was extinguished, sirens did not enunciate and that on-site communications between agencies were poor.