First Responders are Teams and Units responsible for CBRNe incidents management in first moments when those happen. Their main objective is to minimize the effects and consequences of incidents caused by chemical (TICs or CWAs), biological or radiological agents.
CBRN capabilities required by First Intervention and Emergency Units include: Protection, Detection and Decontamination. All this is conditioned by the parameter speed of deployment. Since First Responders must manage limited response time that contamination caused by CBRN agents allows to be able to minime the risk of human lives loss.
Reaction capacity is conditioned by Time of Effect of the CBRN agents: maximum response time for medical assistance of contaminated people by an agent before death of affected person is irreparable.
Time of Effect varies according to agent nature, being especially critical chemical agents and toxins (biological agents) having an time of effect of only 1 hour. In the case of biological agents (such as Virus or Bacteria) time of effect can be extended from 2 to 16 days.
“Guidelines for First Respondents to a CBRN Incident” published by the Civil Protection Group, NATO Civil Emergency Planning is one of the main references in the developed countries about the protocols and capacities with which Defense and Security Agencies and Institutions of the countries to deal with an incident with radiological, chemical (CWAs or TICs) and biological agents. Considering CBRN incident in its broadest sense: whether caused by a terrorist attack or by an accident.
This “Guidelines for First Respondents to a CBRN Incident” highlights four main phases in managing these incidents:
- Information Gathering, Assessment and Dissemination
- Scene Management
- Saving and Protecting Life
- Additional/Specialist Support
CBRN protocols consider it necessary to have Decontamination Capabilities in the second, third and fourth phases.
In the second phase, for the decontamination of people and emergency materials.
In the third phase, for the decontamination of people and all their personal properties.
In the fourth phase, for the decontamination of First Responder Interverners (including their Protection equipment and vehicles), decontamination of the hospitals used to treat those affected, decontamination of the buildings and grounds of the scenario.