Terrorist use of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) agents has the potential to cause wide-spread damage and disruption. In addition to casualties, transportation, power, medical, education, and economic systems can be disrupted by such an event. Even the suspicion of the use of CBRN agents can cause such disruption. First responders need to quickly identify whether a hazardous material was used, and then identify the material so appropriate treatment and clean-up can occur.
The 2001 anthrax attacks prompted a transformation of sampling and field analysis of contaminated sites. New, highly sophisticated tools and technologies became available. Methods and procedures were revamped and streamlined to meet new evidentiary requirements. Laboratory scientists learned more about the target materials and in some cases this new knowledge changed the way military and civilian first responders handled a contaminated environment. Perhaps most importantly, emergency response personnel at the local and the federal levels developed many best practices through trial and error. The U.S. Army sought to capture this new information and publish these practices as an amendment to existing military field manuals.
Profile Partners subcontracted to Teledyne Brown Engineering to develop this guide. Teledyne Brown provided the subject matter expertise and Profile provided research and content development. We conducted a cross-sector literature survey and chose the materials most relevant to search and sampling. Topics included sample collection guidelines, sampling protocols, evidence processing techniques, and chain of custody requirements. We then created a master list of topics to be covered in the guide and solicited feedback from professionals in those fields. We created the table of contents and then began creating and collecting content for the final draft. We then created concepts for the design and functionality of the Guide to include concepts for printing and binding, custom illustrations, and design elements that assisted users in navigating the document. The finished document was delivered to the government ready for print.
The CBRN Search and Sampling Best Practices Guide brought together the latest information from technology developers, laboratory scientists, process engineers and others working in the field of CBRNE sampling and analysis. We focused on including content that was accurate, relevant and substantiated, from subject matter experts that have access to the latest information in the CBRN domain and conveying the information in a clear, organized manner, with an active writing style and a functional graphic design that helps the reader quickly locate the information of interest. This guide was used as a companion to a search and sampling training program and published as a U.S. Army Special Text.