CBRN decontamination mitigating risks and saving lives
CBRNe incidents (caused by terrorist attacks or accidents) belongs to HILP (High Impact, Low Probability) events. Management protocols and capabilities for those CBRN incidents are usually divided into four broad categories: Protection, Detection, Decontamination, and Analysis.
The Security and Defense Forces as well as Emergency agencies and Hazmat Response Teams, need optimize operational capabilities to provide the most effective response to these HILP (High Impact, Low Probability) events to mitigate its consequences and save lives.
NATO in its Allied Joint Doctrine for NBC (STANAG 2451 AJP 3.8 Doctrine for the NBC Defence of NATO forces) defines Decontamination as "the employment of chemical and/or mechanical processes to effect the removal and/or neutralization of chemical, biological or radioactive materials".
Decontamination operational capabilities are conditioned by main 3 factors:
- Type of agent: radiological, biological or chemical (TICs: Toxic Industrial Chemicals and CWAs: Chemical Warfare Agents)
- Environment or scenario: critical infrastructures, urban environments, open field, etc.
- Nature of the affected by contamination: people, ground, vehicles, materials, electronic equipment, etc.
Types of Decontamination
- Immediate Decontamination
Decontamination carried out by individuals upon becoming contaminated to save lives and minimize casualties. This may include decontamination of some personal clothing and/or equipment.
- Operational Decontamination
Decontamination carried out by First Responders or Hazmat Response Teams, restricted to a specific part of operationally essential equipment, material and/or working areas, in order to minimize contact and transfer hazards and to sustain operations.
Decontamination carried out by First Responders or Hazmat Response Teams, to reduce contamination on personnel, equipment, material, vehicles, ground and/or working areas. Its objective is to allow the partial or total removal of CBRN individual protection equipment and to maintain operations with minimum degradation.
- Clearance Decontamination
Decontamination of equipment and personnel on temporary or permanent removal from an operation to a standard sufficient to allow unrestricted tranporation, maintenance, employment and disposal