CIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (2023)

October 1998

CIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (2)The Director of Central Intelligence
Interagency Intelligence Committee on Terrorism
Community Counterterrorism Board


  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Section AWhat Is the Difference Between a Chemical, Biological, or Radiological Event?
  • Section BPersonal Safety Considerations
  • Section CIndicators of a Possible Chemical Incident
  • Section DIndicators of a Possible Biological Incident
  • Section EIndicators of a Possible Radiological Incident
  • Section FInformation To Be Reported
  • Section GGlossary of Chemical Terms
  • Section HGlossary of Biological Terms
  • Section IGlossary of Radiological Terms
  • Section JReferences


This handbook was first produced by the Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBRN) Subcommittee in June 1995. The subcommittee is one of seven subcommittees of theInteragency Intelligence Committee on Terrorism (IICT). Established and charged under DCI Directive 3/22, 24 October 1990, the IICT is comprised of representatives from 45 USGovernment agencies and organizations from the intelligence, law enforcement, regulatory, and defense communities. The IICT and its subcommittees provide an interagencyforum for coordination and cooperation on a wide spectrum of counterterrorism and antiterrorism issues.

This edition of the handbook earmarks the addition of information pertaining to radiological incidents. This update reflects the collective efforts of each agency represented on theCBRN Subcommittee to provide critical information on new and evolving trends necessary to understanding and dealing with changing counterterrorism issues. In particular, I wishto thank the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Public Health Service and the Central IntelligenceAgency for the major role they played in the update of this handbook.

Lastly, I want to recognize the CBRN Subcommittee's dedication in providing timely assessments and information to a myriad of organizations committed to counterterrorism. Ihope that this handbook will play a useful role in these endeavors.

Richard L. Irvine
Chairman, IICT


This handbook is intended to supply information to first responders for use in making a preliminary assessment of a situation when a possible chemical, biological agent orradiological material is suspected. When evaluating and taking action against a possible chemical, biological, or radiological incident, your personal safety is of primary concern.

A concise list of observable indicators of the use and/or presence of CBR material is included to aid in the assessment.

Once a decision is made that the incident may involve CBR material, the checklist, found in Section F, should be completed and forwarded to the appropriate authority forcoordinating the response to the incident.

A glossary of terms and a list of additional reference materials are included.

Section A
What Is the Difference Between a Chemical, Biological, or Radiological Event?

Chemical, biological, and radiological material as well as industrial agents can be dispersed in the air we breath, the water we drink, or on surfaces we physically contact. Dispersionmethods may be as simple as placing a container in a heavily used area, opening a container, using conventional (garden)/commercial spray devices, or as elaborate as detonating animprovised explosive device.

Chemical incidents are characterized by the rapid onset of medical symptoms (minutes to hours) and easily observed signatures (colored residue, dead foliage, pungent odor, anddead insect and animal life).

In the case of a biological incident, the onset of symptoms requires days to weeks and there typically will be no characteristic signatures. Because of the delayed onset of symptomsin a biological incident, the area affected may be greater due to the migration of infected individuals.

In the case of a radiological incident, the onset of symptoms requires days to weeks and there typically will be no characteristic signatures. Radiological materials are notrecognizable by the senses, and are colorless and odorless.

Specialized equipment is required to determine the size of the effected area and if the level of radioactivity presents an immediate or long-term health hazard. Because of the delayedonset of symptoms in a radiological incident, the affected area may be greater due to the migration of contaminated individuals.

The following sections contain indicators of chemical/biological/radiological material release and key information to relay to responding organizations. In attempting to collect thisinformation your personal safety is your primary concern.

Section B
Personal Safety Considerations

When approaching a scene that may involve chemical, biological, or radiological materials the most critical consideration is the safety of oneself and other responders. Be cognizantthat the presence and identification of hazardous agents may not be immediately verifiable, especially in the case of biological and radiological agents. The followingactions/measures to be considered by first responders are applicable to either a chemical, biological, or radiological incident. The guidance is general in nature, not allencompassing, and its applicability should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the first responders.

Actions To Be Considered:

1.If outside, approach or evacuate upwind of the suspected area.
2.If outside, don available protective mask and clothing immediately. Cover all exposedskin surfaces and protect the respiratory system as much as possible. Overcoats, boots,gloves, hats, self-contained breathing systems, and organic vapor respirators will helpprovide protection.
3.If inside and the incident is inside, evacuate while minimizing passage through thecontaminated area, keep windows and doors not used closed.
4.If inside, and the incident is outside, stay inside. Turn off air conditioning, seal windowsand doors with plastic tape.
5.If radiological material is suspected, remember to minimize exposure by minimizing timearound suspected site, maximizing distance from the site, and trying to place someshielding (e.g. buildings, vehicle, land feature such as a hill, etc.) between yourself andthe site.
6.Deploy CBR detection equipment, if available.
7.When clear of the area or adequately protected, call specialized expertise if a CBR eventis suspected.
8.Report information compiled under Section F to the appropriate authorities.
Decontamination Measures:
9.Once clear of the suspected contaminated area, remove all external apparel, such asclothes, shoes, gloves, hats, and leave them outside.
10.Proceed to a shower and thoroughly wash your body with soap and water. This needs tobe accomplished within minutes. Simply flushing water over the body is not enough. Youneed to aggressively scrub your skin and irrigate your eyes with water. In the case ofbiologicals, this is often sufficient to avert contact infection. If available, for suspectedbiological and chemical contamination the contaminated areas should then be washedwith a 0.5-percent sodium hypochlorite solution, allowing a contact time of 10 to 15minutes. To make a 0.5-percent sodium hypochlorite solution, take one part householdbleach such as Clorox, and 10 parts water. Do not let this solution contact your eyes.
11.If a biological or chemical contamination is suspected, for decontamination of fabricclothing or equipment, use undiluted household bleach. A contact time of 30 minutesshould be allowed before discarding or further use.

Section C
Indicators of a Possible Chemical Incident

Dead animals/birds/fishNot just an occasional roadkill, but numerous animals (wild and domestic, small andlarge), birds and fish in the same area.
Lack of insect lifeIf normal insect activity (ground, air, and/or water) is missing, then check theground/water surface/shore line for dead insects. If near water, check for deadfish/aquatic birds.
Physical SymptomsNumerous individuals experiencing unexplained water-like blisters, wheals (like beestings), pinpointed pupils, choking, respiratory ailments and/or rashes.
Mass casualtiesNumerous individuals exhibiting unexplained serious health problems ranging fromnausea to disorientation to difficulty in breathing to convulsions to death.
Definite pattern of casualtiesCasualties distributed in a pattern that may be associated with possible agentdissemination methods.
Illness associated with confined geographic areaLower attack rates for people working indoors versus outdoors, or outdoors versusindoors.
Unusual liquid dropletsNumerous surfaces exhibit oily droplets/film; numerous water surfaces have an oily film.(No recent rain.)
Areas that look different in appearanceNot just a patch of dead weeds, but trees, shrubs, bushes, food crops, and/or lawns thatare dead, discolored, or withered. (No current drought.)
Unexplained odorsSmells may range from fruity to flowery to sharp/pungent to garlic/horseradish-like tobitter almonds/peach kernels to new mown hay. It is important to note that the particularodor is completely out of character with its surroundings.
Low-lying cloudsLow-lying cloud/fog-like condition that is not explained by its surroundings.
Unusual metal debrisUnexplained bomb/munitions-like material, especially if it contains a liquid.(No recentrain.)
Gases-Toxic and/or CorrosiveCIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (3)
Substances-Toxic (Non-Combustible)CIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (4)
Substances-Toxic (Combustible) CIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (5)

Section D
Indicators of a Possible Biological Incident

Unusual numbers, of sick or dying people or animalsAny number of symptoms may occur. As a first responder, strong consideration shouldbe given to calling local hospitals to see if additional causalities with similar symptomshave been observed. Casualties may occur hours to days to weeks after an incident hasoccurred. The time required before symptoms are observed is dependent on the agentused and the dose received. Additional symptoms likely to occur include unexplainedgastrointestinal illnesses and upper respiratory problems similar to flu/colds.
Unscheduled and unusual spray being disseminatedEspecially if outdoors during periods of darkness.
Abandoned spray devicesDevices will have no distinct odors.
Placards Associated with Biological Incidents
Infectious SubstancesCIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (6)

Section E
Indicators of a Possible Radiological Incident

Unusual numbers, of sick or dying people or animalsAs a first responder, strong consideration should be given to calling local hospitals to seeif additional casualties with similar symptoms have been observed. Casualties may occurhours to days or weeks after an incident has occurred. The time required beforesymptoms are observed is dependent on the radioactive material used and the dosereceived. Additional symptoms include skin reddening and, in severe cases, vomiting.
Unusual metal debrisUnexplained bomb/munitions-like material.
Radiation SymbolsContainers may display a radiation symbol.
Heat Emitting MaterialMaterial that seems to emit heat without any sign of a external heating source.
Glowing material/particlesIf the material is strongly radioactive, then it may emit a radioluminescence.
Placards Associated with Radiological Incidents
Radioactive Materials CIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (7)

Section F
Information To Be Reported

Section G
Glossary of Chemical Terms

acetylcholinesteraseAn enzyme that hydrolyzes the neurotransmitteracetylcholine. The action of this enzyme is inhibited bynerve agents.
aerosolFine liquid or solid particles suspended in a gas; forexample, fog or smoke.
atropineA compound used as an antidote for nerve agents.
casualty (toxic) agentsProduce incapacitation, serious injury, or death. They canbe used to incapacitate or kill victims. These agents are thechoking, blister, nerve, and blood agents.
Choking AgentsSubstances that cause physical injury to the lungs.Exposure is through inhalation. In extreme cases,membranes swell and lungs become filled with liquid.Death results from lack of oxygen; hence, the victim is"choked"
Blister AgentsSubstances that cause blistering of the skin. Exposure isthrough liquid or vapor contact with any exposed tissue(eyes, skin, lungs).
Nerve AgentsSubstances that interfere with the central nervous system.Exposure is primarily through contact with the liquid (skinand eyes) and secondarily through inhalation of the vapor.Three distinct symptoms associated with nerve agents are:pin-point pupils, an extreme headache, and severetightness in the chest.
Blood AgentsSubstances that injure a person by interfering with cellrespiration (the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxidebetween blood and tissues).
chemical agentA chemical substance that is intended for use in militaryoperations to kill, seriously injure, or incapacitate peoplethrough its physiological effects. Excluded fromconsideration are riot control agents, and smoke and flamematerials. The agent may appear as a vapor, aerosol, orliquid; it can be either a casualty/toxic agent or anincapacitating agent.
cutaneousPertaining to the skin.
decontaminationThe process of making any person, object, or area safe byabsorbing, destroying, neutralizing, making harmless, orremoving the hazardous material.
G-series nerve agentsChemical agents of moderate to high toxicity developed inthe 1930s. Examples are tabun (GA), sarin (GB), soman(GD), and GF.
Incapacitating agentsProduce temporary physiological and/or mental effects viaaction on the central nervous system. Effects may persistfor hours or days, but victims usually do not requiremedical treatment. However, such treatment speedsrecovery.
vomiting agentsProduce nausea and vomiting effects, can also causecoughing, sneezing, pain in the nose and throat, nasaldischarge, and tears.
tear (riot control) agentsProduce irritating or disabling effects that rapidlydisappear within minutes after exposure ceases.
central nervous system depressantsCompounds that have the predominant effect of depressingor blocking the activity of the central nervous system. Theprimary mental effects include the disruption of the abilityto think, sedation, and lack of motivation.
central nervous system stimulantsCompounds that have the predominant effect of floodingthe brain with too much information. The primary mentaleffect is loss of concentration, causing indecisiveness andthe inability to act in a sustained, purposeful manner.
industrial agentsChemicals developed or manufactured for use in industrialoperations or research by industry, government, oracademia. These chemicals are not primarily manufacturedfor the specific purpose of producing human casualties orrendering equipment, facilities, or areas dangerous for useby man. Hydrogen cyanide, cyanogen chloride, phosgene,chloropicrin and many herbicides and pesticides areindustrial chemicals that also can be chemical agents.
liquid agentA chemical agent that appears to be an oily film ordroplets. The color ranges from clear to brownish amber.
nonpersistentagentAn agent that upon release loses its ability to causecasualties after 10 to 15 minutes. It has a high evaporationrate and is lighter than air and will disperse rapidly. It isconsidered to be a short-term hazard. However, in smallunventilated areas, the agent will be more persistent.
organophosphorous compoundA compound, containing the elements phosphorus andcarbon, whose physiological effects include inhibition ofacetylcholinesterase. Many pesticides (malathione andparathion) and virtually all nerve agents areorganophosphorous compounds.
percutaneous agentAble to be absorbed by the body through the skin.
persistent agentAn agent that upon release retains its casualty-producingeffects for an extended period of time, usually anywherefrom 30 minutes to several days. A persistent agent usuallyhas a low evaporation rate and its vapor is heavier than air.Therefore, its vapor cloud tends to hug the ground. It isconsidered to be a long-term hazard. Although inhalationhazards are still a concern, extreme caution should be takento avoid skin contact as well.
protectionAny means by which an individual protects his body.Measures include masks, self-contained breathingapparatuses, clothing, structures such as buildings, andvehicles.
V-series nerve agentsChemical agents of moderate to high toxicity developed inthe 1950s. They are generally persistent. Examples are VE,VG, VM, VS, and VX.
vapor agentA gaseous form of a chemical agent. If heavier than air, thecloud will be close to the ground. If lighter than air, thecloud will rise and disperse more quickly.
volatilityA measure of how readily a substance will vaporize.

Section H
Glossary of Biological Terms

aerosolFine liquid or solid particles suspended in a gas; for example, fog or smoke.
antibioticA substance that inhibits the growth of or kills microorganisms.
antiseraThe liquid part of blood containing antibodies, that react against disease causing agentssuch as those used in BW.
bacteriaSingle-celled organisms that multiply by cell division and that can cause disease inhumans, plants, or animals.
biochemicalsThe chemicals that make up or are produced by living things.
biological warfare agentsLiving organisms or the materials derived from them that cause disease in or harm tohumans, animals, or plants, or cause deterioration of material. Biological agents may beused as liquid droplets, aerosols, or dry powders.
biological warfareThe intentional use of biological agents as weapons to kill or injure humans, animals, orplants, or to damage equipment.
bioregulatorsBiochemicals that regulate bodily functions. Bioregulators that are produced by the bodyare termed "endogenous." Some of these same bioregulators can be chemicallysynthesized.
causative agentThe organism or toxin that is responsible for causing a specific disease or harmful effect.
contagiousCapable of being transmitted from one person to another.
cultureA population of micro-organisms grown in a medium.
decontaminationThe process of making people, objects, or areas safe by absorbing, destroying,neutralizing, making harmless, or removing the hazardous material.
fungiAny of a group of plants mainly characterized by the absence of chlorophyll, the greencolored compound found in other plants. Fungi range from microscopic single-celledplants (such as molds and mildews) to large plants (such as mushrooms).
hostAn animal or plant that harbors or nourishes another organism.
incapacitating agentAgents that produce physical or psychological effects, or both, that may persist for hoursor days after exposure, rendering victims incapable of performing normal physical andmental tasks.
infectious agentsBiological agents capable of causing disease in a susceptible host..
infectivity(1) The ability of an organism to spread. (2) The number of organisms required to causean infection to secondary hosts. (3) The capability of an organism to spread out from thesite of infection and cause disease in the host organism. Infectivity also can be viewed asthe number of organisms required to cause an infection.
line-source delivery systemA delivery system in which the biological agent is dispersed from a moving ground or airvehicle in a line perpendicular to the direction of the prevailing wind. (See also"point-source delivery system.")
mycotoxinA toxin produced by fungi.
microorganismAny organism, such as bacteria, viruses, and some fungi, that can be seen only with amicroscope.
nebulizerA device for producing a fine spray or aerosol.
organismAny individual living thing, whether animal or plant.
parasiteAny organism that lives in or on another organism without providing benefit in return.
pathogenAny organism (usually living) capable of producing serious disease or death, such asbacteria, fungi, and viruses.
pathogenic agentsBiological agents capable of causing serious disease.
point-source delivery systemA delivery system in which the biological agent is dispersed from a stationary position.This delivery method results in coverage over a smaller area than with the line-sourcesystem. (See also "line-source delivery system.")
route of exposure (entry)The path by which a person comes into contact with an agent or organism; for example,through breathing, digestion, or skin contact.
single-cell proteinProtein-rich material obtained from cultured algae, fungi, protein and bacteria, and oftenused as food or animal feed.
sporeA reproductive form some micro-organisms can take to become resistant toenvironmental conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, while in a "resting stage."
toxicityA measure of the harmful effect produced by a given amount of a toxin on a livingorganism. The relative toxicity of an agent can be expressed in milligrams of toxinneeded per kilogram of body weight to kill experimental animals.
toxinsPoisonous substances produced by living organisms.
vaccineA preparation of killed or weakened microorganism products used to artificially induceimmunity against a disease.
vectorAn agent, such as an insect or rat, capable of transferring a pathogen from one organismto another.
venomA poison produced in the glands of some animals; for example, snakes, scorpions, orbees.
virusAn infectious micro-organism that exists as a particle rather than as a complete cell.Particle sizes range from 20 to 400 manometers (one-billionth of a meter). Viruses. arenot capable of reproducing outside of a host cell.

Section I
Glossary of Radiological Terms

Acute radiation SyndromeConsists of three levels of effects: Hernatopoletic (blood cells, most sensitive);Gastrointestinal (GI cells, very sensitive); and Central Nervous System (brain/musclecells, insensitive). The initial signs and symptoms are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and lossof appetite. Below about 200 rems, these symptoms may be the only indication ofradiation exposure.
alpha particle (CIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (8)) The alpha particle has a very short range in air and a very low ability to penetrate othermaterials, but it has a strong ability to ionize materials. Alpha particles are unable topenetrate even the thin layer of dead cells of human skin and consequently are not anexternal radiation hazard. Alpha-emitting nuclides inside the body as a result ofinhalation or ingestion are a considerable internal radiation hazard.
beta particles (ß)High-energy electrons emitted from the nucleus of an atom during radioactive decay.They normally can be stopped by the skin or a very thin sheet of metal.
Cesium-137 (Cs-137)A strong gamma ray source and can contaminate property, entailing extensive clean-up. Itis commonly used in industrial measurement gauges and for irradiation of material.Half-life is 30.2 years.
Cobalt-60 (Co-60)A strong gamma ray source, and is extensively used as a radiotherapeutic for treatingcancer, food and material irradiation, gamma radiography, and industrial measurementgauges. Half-life is 5.27 years.
curie (Ci)A unit of radioactive decay rate defined as 3.7 x 1010 disintegrations per second.
decayThe process by which an unstable element is changed to another isotope or anotherelement by the spontaneous emission of radiation from its nucleus. This process can bemeasured by using radiation detectors such as Geiger counters.
decontaminationThe process of making people, objects, or areas safe by absorbing, destroying,neutralizing, making harmless, or removing the hazardous material.
doseA general term for the amount of radiation absorbed over a period of time.
dosimeterA portable instrument for measuring and registering the total accumulated dose toionizing radiation.
gamma rays (CIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (9)) High-energy photons emitted from the nucleus of atoms; similar to x rays. They canpenetrate deeply into body tissue and many materials. Cobalt-60 and Cesium-137 areboth strong CIA DI "Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook" (10)-emitters. Shielding against gamma radiation requires thick layers of densematerials, such as lead. Gamma rays are potentially lethal to humans.
half-lifeThe amount of time needed for half of the atoms of a radioactive material to decay.
Highly enriched uranium (HEU)Uranium that is enriched to above 20% Uranium-235 (U-235). Weapons-grade HEU isenriched to above 90% in U-235.
IonizeTo split off one or more electrons from an atom, thus leaving it with a positive electriccharge. The electrons usually attach to one of the atoms or molecules, giving them anegative charge.
Iridium-192A gamma-ray emitting radioisotope used for gamma- radiography. The half-life is 73, 83days.
isotopeA specific element always has the same number of protons in the nucleus. That sameelement may, however, appear in forms that have different numbers of neutrons in thenucleus. These different forms are referred to as "isotopes" of the element. For example,deuterium (2H) and tritium (3H) are isotopes of ordinary hydrogen (H).
lethal dose (50/30)The dose of radiation expected to cause death within 30 days to 50% of those exposedwithout medical treatment. The generally accepted range from 400-500 rem received overa short period of time.
nuclear reactorA device in which a controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction can be maintainedwith the use of cooling to remove generated heat.
Plutonium-239 (Pu-239)A metallic element used for nuclear weapons. Th half-life is 24,110 years.
RadA unit of absorbed dose of radiation defined as deposition of 100 ergs of energy per gramof tissue. It amounts to approximately one ionization per cubic micron.
radiationHigh energy alpha or beta particles or gamma rays that are emitted by an atom as thesubstance undergoes radioactive decay.
radiation sicknessSymptoms resulting from excessive exposure to radiation of the body.
radioactive wasteDisposable, radioactive materials resulting from nuclear operations. Wastes are generallyclassified into two categories, high-level and low-level waste.
Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD)A device (weapon or equipment), other than a nuclear explosive device, designed todisseminate radioactive material in order to cause destruction, damage, or injury bymeans of the radiation produced by the decay of such material.
radioluminescenceThe luminescence produced by particles emitted during radioactive decay.
remA Roentgen Man Equivalent is a unit of absorbed dose that takes into account the relativeeffectiveness of radiation that harms human health.
shieldingMaterials (lead, concrete, etc.) used to block or attenuate radiation for protection ofequipment, materials, or people.
Special Nuclear Material (SNM)Plutonium and uranium enriched in the isotope Uranium-233 or Uranium 235.
Uranium 235 (U-235)Naturally occurring uranium U-235 is found at 0.72% enrichment. U-235 is used as anreactor fuel or for weapons; however, weapons typically use U-235 enriched to 90%. Thehalf-life is 7.04 x 108 years.
X-RayAn invisible, highly penetrating electromagnetic radiation of much shorter wavelength(higher frequency) than visible light. Very similar to gamma-rays.

Section J

Analysis of the Clandestine CB Threat to USAF Strategic Forces (Unclassified), Volumes I and 11. Technical Considerations, Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC)Number AD379465, February 1967.

Antiterrorism Front -End Analysis (Unclassified), DTIC Number AD-C954865, June 1984.

Chemical/Biological Hazard Prediction Program, Technical Report, DTIC Number AD-BL 63245, 1991.

Effects of Terrorist Chemical Attack on Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Operations, DTIC Number AD-BL 65614, April 1992.

Chemical and Biological Warfare, An Investigative Guide (For Official Use Only), US Customs Service, Office of Enforcement, Washington, DC 20229.

Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Assessing the Risk, Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress, OTA-ISC-559.

Background Paper, Technologies Underlying Weapons of Mass Destruction, Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress, OTA-BP-ISC-1 15.

Hazardous Material Workshop for Law Enforcement, student manual from the Emergency Management Institute, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Nuclear Terms Handbook, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nonproliferation and National Security, 1996.

Weapons of Mass Destruction Terms Handbook, Defense Special Weapons Agency, DSWA-AR-40H, 1 June 1998.

Glossary of Terms in Nuclear Science and Technology, America Nuclear Society, 1986.

Nuclear Reactor Concepts, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, May 1993.

Biological Effects of Radiation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of Public Affairs.

North American Emergency Response Manual, U.S. Department of Transportation, Transport Canada, Secretariat of Transport and Communications, 1996.

The following URL's may be used to access the Chemical, Biological, Radiological Incident Handbook available on the Internet:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
Federal Emergency Management Agency:
Public Health Service:


What are the three types of CBRN incidents? ›

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear Challenge

[3] CBRN incidents present different challenges for all responders, necessitating the rapid decontamination and treatment of a significant numbers of casualties while taking critical measures to ensure the well-being of the personnel managing the incident.

What are examples of CBRN incidents? ›

Examples of their recent use include war fighting (World War One and the Iran-Iraq War), ethnic conflict (chemical weapon use against the Iraqi Kurds and in Syria), terrorism (release of sarin in the Tokyo underground, US anthrax letters) and assassination (ricin, polonium-210).

Is CBRN a combat MOS? ›

CBRN is an MOS where Marines are trained to react and defend against different airborne, injection and absorbent hazardous attacks. They conduct training for a wide range of situations from a gas attack or chemical spill to bomb disposal or a plague.

What to do if exposed to CBRN agent? ›

If you have been exposed to a nerve agent, remove all clothing immediately and wash with copious amounts of soap and water. Seek emergency medical attention.

What is the difference between CBRN and CBRNE? ›

CBRN is an acronym for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear. It is used to refer to situations in which a threat is manifested by the presence or use of any of such agents. Sometimes the acronym is extended to CBRNE, where the E refers to the threat of malicious use of explosives.

What are the 4 routes CBRN agents enter the body? ›

In order to understand how chemical hazards can affect you, it is important to first understand how chemicals can get into your body and do damage. The four main routes of entry are inhalation, ingestion, injection, and absorption through the skin and eyes.

What is the difference of HazMat to CBRN incident? ›

The term CBRN is generally reserved for the deliberate release of a hazardous material such as in a terrorist attack, whereas the term Hazmat is used for accidental release or exposure to toxic industrial material. Examples of some incidents that have taken place over the past 20 years are listed in Table 1 .

What is the difference between HazMat and CBRN? ›

While HazMat incidents may have typically comprised smaller-scale, accidental and non-weaponized events, for example, CBRNe missions have tended to be in response to the deliberate use of chemical warfare agents (CWAs), often under battlefield conditions and within the context of planned, special intelligence ...

What are CBRN attacks? ›

CBRN Terrorism is the term used to describe the terrorist use (or threatened use) of Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear material as a weapon, with the intention to cause harm.

What does the black triangle mean in CBRN? ›

The triangle with a black symbol has come to represent a hazard. The symbols within the triangles have been developed in the latter part of the 20th century for nuclear, biological and chemical hazards.

How much does a CBRN soldier get paid? ›

CBRN Specialist Salaries
Job TitleSalary
US Marine Corps CBRN Specialist salaries - 8 salaries reported$41,175/yr
Army National Guard CBRN Specialist salaries - 3 salaries reported$41,302/yr
Raytheon Technologies CBRN Specialist salaries - 1 salaries reported$56,880/yr
10 more rows

Can CBRN go airborne? ›

CBRN officers assigned to a Special Forces Chemical Recon Detachment will have to opportunity to become Ranger and Airborne qualified. Reconnaissance Platoons provide CBRN reconnaissance support to Brigade Combat Teams.

How do CBRN agents enter the body? ›

CBRN agents enter the body by several routes, and the nature and onset of signs and symptoms may vary accordingly. Gases, vapours, and aerosols, when inhaled, may be absorbed through any part of the respiratory tract, from the mucosa of the nose and mouth to the alveoli of the lungs.

Can all CBRN agents be detected by smell or sight? ›

You may be able to see, smell or touch certain CBRN hazards, others can only be detected using special equipment. Depending on the CBRN agent, exposure can take place through contact with skin, inhalation or ingestion.

How long does a trained person have to don their respirator CBRN? ›

After hollering "Gas, Gas, Gas," most of the Soldiers, removed the mask from its carrier and managed to get it on somewhere close to the nine-second standard the Army expects them to complete the task in.

Do CBRN units see combat? ›

Speaking for what Marines do here, I'm sure it's the same as what the Army does though. CBRN guys get attached to various units, anywhere from administrative, to supply, to infantry units. On deployment you could be at a desk, in a warehouse, or out in the field with grunts. So there is a possibility to see combat.

How long is a CBRN class? ›

Overview. Hands-On Training for CBRNE Incidents is a two-day course in which participants develop and apply chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive (CBRNE) incident-response practices in a realistic environment.

What gas do they use for CBRN? ›

Chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, commonly referred to as CS gas or tear gas is used to train Soldiers within the gas chamber.

What are the 4 routes of exposure to toxics? ›

There are four major routes by which a chemical may enter the body:
  • Inhalation (breathing)
  • Skin (or eye) contact.
  • Swallowing (ingestion or eating)
  • Injection (skin penetration)

What are the 3 main routes in which chemicals enter the body? ›

The different ways a person can come into contact with hazardous chemicals are called exposure pathways. There are three basic exposure pathways: inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact.

What is the most common route for chemicals to enter the body? ›

There are four ways a chemical or substance can enter the human body. These four routes of exposure include inhalation, absorption, ingestion, and injection. Inhalation – Inhalation is the most common route of entry a person comes into contact with a chemical.

What does the E in CBRNE mean? ›

CBRNE is an acronym for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosives. These types of weapons have the ability to create both mass casualties as well as mass disruption of society.

Does CBRN protect from radiation? ›

The CBRN APR canister does not shield against or filter out radiation itself (alpha and beta particles or gamma radiation), but rather filters the larger particulates which carry alpha and beta particles or emit gamma radiation.

What is the most common hazmat incident? ›

Hydrocarbons. The most common kind of hazmat incident involves hydrocarbons, better known as gasoline, diesel fuel, oil and natural gas in liquid and gas forms.

Can I wear a CBRN patch? ›

The CBRN patch is a "subdued brassard" as defined in para 21-30b(2). Interestingly, you are only supposed to wear it when actively doing CBRN activities, not just for bumming around post.

What does a CBRN specialist do? ›

Job Overview

As a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialist, you'll protect the country against the threat of CBRN weapons of mass destruction, and you'll decontaminate hazardous material spills or accidents.

What are CBRN defense units? ›

United States
  • 48th Chemical Brigade. 2nd Chemical Battalion. 22nd Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort) 83rd Chemical Battalion. 110th Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort)
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives Analytical and Remediation Activity.

What are the 4 types of chemical agents? ›

Vesicants (blistering agents) Bloods agents (cyanogenic agents) Choking agents (pulmonary agents) Riot-control agents (tear gases)

What is the CBRN defense policy? ›

NATO's 2022 Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defence Policy establishes the framework upon which we will understand, plan, posture, exercise, train, equip, and assess our capabilities, in order to counter WMD proliferation and ensure that we deter and defend our Alliance against CBRN threats. 3.

What do you do in CBRN? ›

Lifestyle and home remedies
  1. Cool the burn. Hold the burned area under cool (not cold) running water or apply a cool, wet compress until the pain eases. ...
  2. Remove rings or other tight items. ...
  3. Don't break blisters. ...
  4. Apply lotion. ...
  5. Bandage the burn. ...
  6. Take a pain reliever. ...
  7. Consider a tetanus shot.
Aug 13, 2022

What colors are CBRN? ›

CBRN protection is indicated by an olive color.

What does the red flag mean in CBRN? ›

What does it mean and what actions are taken when airmen hear Alarm RED and see a RED flag / transition sign during a CBRN attack? ( Figure 5.3) Meaning: Air Attack is imminent or in progress. Actions: -Seek immediate protection with overhead cover.

What color is Army CBRN? ›

Chemical Corps
United States Army Chemical Corps
ColorsCobalt blue and golden yellow
Anniversaries28 June (Organization Day)
WarsWorld War I World War II Korean War Vietnam Southwest Asia Kosovo War on Terrorism
WebsiteU.S. Army CBRN School
12 more rows

What is the highest-paying MOS in the military? ›

Highest-paying Military Career Jobs
  • Aircraft Launch and Recovery Officers. ...
  • Armored Assault Vehicle Officers. ...
  • Artillery and Missile Officers. ...
  • Command and Control Center Officers. ...
  • Infantry Officers. ...
  • Special Forces Officers. ...
  • Military Officer Special and Tactical Operations Leaders. ...
  • Medical, Pharmacy, and Dental Services.

How often is CBRN training? ›

Every 18 months, Airmen undergo chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense survival training as a precaution for operating in potentially dangerous environments worldwide.

How many CBRN soldiers are there? ›

CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity (CARA)

CARA is a conglomeration of soldiers and civilians with special training in microbiology, medical science, and related fields. It consists of approximately 3,500 soldiers and 225 civilians, all working in strategic locations in 16 states across the Union.

Is CBRN training hard? ›

They'll be able to get them out safely." With the range of topics spanning from confined space training to site exploitation of hazards associated with CBRN materials, students agree that the course is more difficult than estimated. "It is a lot of work, and it is condensed," said course student Staff Sgt.

Does CBRN get deployed? ›

For more than a decade, ORR's CBRN Office has successfully built, deployed, and sustained a series of capabilities, a comprehensive relationship network, and a multi-component risk management framework that have helped guide FEMA and its mission partners in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from CBRN ...

What Asvab score is needed for CBRN? ›

How do I join the CBRN? Along with other physical and educational requirements, to become an Army CBRN Specialist, you'll need to score 100 or better on the Skilled Technical portion of the ASVAB.

How do you decontaminate CBRN? ›

Decontaminate open wounds by irrigation with saline or water for an additional 5-10 minutes. Try to avoid contaminating unexposed skin on the patient. Use surgical drapes if necessary. Flush exposed areas with soap and water for 10-15 minutes with gentle sponging.

What are the worst chemical weapons? ›

The most dangerous of these are nerve agents (GA, GB, GD, and VX) and vesicant (blister) agents, which include formulations of sulfur mustard such as H, HT, and HD. They all are liquids at normal room temperature, but become gaseous when released.

What is the color of nerve gas? ›

Sarin is a clear, colorless, tasteless liquid with no perceivable odor. Sarin can readily evaporate into a vapor (gas) and spread into the environment.

Should you smell an unknown chemical in order to identify it? ›

DO NOT and NEVER intentionally smell/sniff unknown chemicals. The descriptions are recorded in case you become aware of a similar odour in your working environment indicating a contaminate, or if wearing PPE a breach in your respirator.

What are some signs that a chemical or biological agent may have been released? ›

Signs of a chemical release include difficulty breathing, eye irritation, loss of coordination, nausea or burning in the nose, throat and lungs. The presence of many dead insects or birds may indicate a chemical agent release.

How many seconds to put on a CBRN mask? ›

Standards: Protect yourself from C/B agent and/or unknown toxic industrial chemical contamination using your assigned protective mask; don, clear, and seal your mask within 9 seconds.

How often must a team member who wears a respirator perform a respirator self check? ›

How often do I need to complete a fit test? You should be fit tested at least annually to ensure your respirator continues to fit you properly.

What must be done every time a respirator is put on? ›

Each time and every time a respirator is worn, you must check that the respirator is sealing properly to the face. Not all respirators will allow the wearer to temporarily block the inlet openings or valves, but these checks should be done whenever possible. Do not wear a respirator that does not seal properly.

What are the three types of chemical emergencies? ›

Chemical emergencies can include: fire, explosion or chemical spill at a fixed site like a warehouse.

What is a CBRN incident? ›

The term CBRN incident is used where it is suspected that a deliberate act has taken place or intended to cause harm or fear by using, or threatening to use CBRN materials. It may range from a minor investigation to a major national incident.

What is a CBRN 3 report? ›

4. Sample CBRN 3 Report. (Immediate Warning of Expected Contamination. or Hazard Area)

What are CBRN emergencies? ›

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) emergencies are one involving CBRN agents (i.e., toxic and hazardous chemicals/materials, chemical and biological warfare agents, toxic radiological materials, etc.).

What are the 4 types of chemical hazards? ›

Types of chemical hazards
  • skin irritants.
  • carcinogens.
  • respiratory sensitisers.
Dec 1, 2021

What are the 2 main types of chemical hazards? ›

A chemical hazard refers to the risks that surround using a chemical. In the workplace, we find two types of chemical hazards: health hazards and physicochemical hazards.

What are the five 5 steps in the emergency procedures for chemical spills and incidents? ›

When a chemical spill occurs, there are five steps to be taken: (a) control the source of the spill; (b) contain the spill; (c) isolate the area concerned (if appropriate); (d) contact the authorities (if appropriate); then (e) clean up the spill.

Does CBRN see combat? ›

The Chemical Corps enables the Army to fight and win in a CBRN environment as part of large scale combat operations and supports activities protecting our homeland against weapons of mass destruction.

What is the difference of HAZMAT to CBRN incident? ›

The term CBRN is generally reserved for the deliberate release of a hazardous material such as in a terrorist attack, whereas the term Hazmat is used for accidental release or exposure to toxic industrial material. Examples of some incidents that have taken place over the past 20 years are listed in Table 1 .

What does a red flag mean in CBRN? ›

What does it mean and what actions are taken when airmen hear Alarm RED and see a RED flag / transition sign during a CBRN attack? ( Figure 5.3) Meaning: Air Attack is imminent or in progress. Actions: -Seek immediate protection with overhead cover.

What color should CBRN areas be shown? ›

Cartridges are color coded, either by an attached label or the color of the cartridge itself, to indicate the specific hazard for which the filter is designed. CBRN protection is indicated by an olive color.

What does C stand for in CBRN? ›

CBRNE is an acronym for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosives.

What is CBRN equipment called? ›

Chemical Biological Radiation and Nuclear Devices
Sr No.Equipment Namenumber
1Gm Survey Meter18
2Mini Rad Meter6
3Beta Gamma Counting System1
4Alpha Counting System1
28 more rows

What is the code for CBRNE? ›

Code Orange Subset – Code Orange-CBRNE: A subset of the Code Orange response designed to activate a response to an external chemical, biological, radiologic, nuclear, explosive disaster whereby the influx of patients demands additional resources to manage the event through decontamination.

What is CBRN PPE? ›

Chemical - Biological - Radiological - Nuclear (CBRN) Personal Protective Equipment Selection Matrix for Emergency Responders.

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