CBRNe incidents caused by attacks or accidents with chemical agents are characterized by an immediate effect on the people and elements affected and by a short reaction time for the First Response teams in order to mitigate the effects of the same.
CBRN protocols establish a clear differentiation between two types of chemical agents: the Chemical Warfare Agents (CWA) and the Toxic Industrial Chemical (TIC)
CBRN protocols about CBRNe incident management in general and about CBRN Decontamination in particularly, also make a differentiation among both of them: as TICs are usually associated with CBRNe incidents generate by accidents in the industry environment (either in manufacturing plants or in hazmat transportation). Thus some of the most serious and devastating CBRNe incidents in history have been accidents with TICs agents:
- Bhopal accident (India) in 1984 (pesticide factory accident that caused more than 15,000 deaths and more than 600,000 affected)
- Accident of Oppau (Germany) in 1921 (factory crash of Ammonium Nitrate that caused more than 500 deaths and more than 2,000 injured).
- Accident in Toulouse (France) in 2001, accident at the fertilizer plant that caused 29 deaths and more than 2,500 injured)
- Accident of Texas City (USA) in 1947 (accident on a ship carrying ammonium nitrate that caused the death of 576 people and the destruction of more than 1,000 buildings).
For its part, chemical warfare agents (CWAs) are related to NBC incidents caused by war actions or terrorist attacks, although it is true that in recent years the use, in some terrorist attacks, of ICT agents has increased. Since they are easier and cheaper agents to acquire, manipulate or manufacture than CWAs.
Generally chemical warfare agents (CWAs) are classified into 5 main categories: Incapacitating agents, Nerve agents, Blood agents, Blister agents and Choking agents