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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 202051 Find in a Library
Title: Detecting Radiation
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:30  Issue:8  Dated:August 2003  Pages:84,86,89
Author(s): Ronnie Garrett
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the need for radiation detection equipment among first responders.
Abstract: Radiation detection equipment is needed by police department bomb squads and fire department HazMat teams to identify the presence of radioactivity or radiation in any explosion-type situation. Otherwise they have no way of knowing if it was a conventional bomb or a dirty bomb. It is recommended that agencies equip all first responders with dosimeters. Dosimeters would allow first responders to bring in more sophisticated detection equipment to determine dose rates and identify the specific radionuclide(s) involved. Knowing the radionuclide(s) involved allows first responders to do a risk assessment. Dosimeters should be small, lightweight, and convenient, and register all types of ionizing radiation. Dosimeters should meet the following requirements: (1) be portable so that officers can carry it at all times; (2) be rated to detect all types of ionizing radiation; and (3) have a real-time numerical readout of dose rate. Law enforcement officers must have appropriate radiation detectors, know how to use them, and how to interpret the readings. Officers require two levels of training. They need to know what the readings mean and what level of radiation or dose rate is safe and what is not. In greater detail, they need to know radiation and the effects of exposure, and the difference between a nuclear detonation and a dirty bomb. There are three main factors of radiation protection: time (the shorter the time, the lower the exposure), distance (the greater the distance, the lower the exposure), and shielding (the thicker the shield, the lower the exposure). Knowing information about radiation mitigation helps officers take the proper precautions before entering a contaminated scene and correctly handle radiation mitigation after it’s over. Officer must understand the reading of a dosimeter in the context of what an average background radiation reading is per day. They also need to understand how differences in their proximity to the radiation source will influence the readings they receive. The radiation dose officers are allowed to accumulate should be decided upon ahead of time and spelled out in a standard operating procedure. Readings should be taken regularly.
Main Term(s): Bombs; Radioactive material
Index Term(s): Disaster related crimes; Emergency procedures; Hazardous substances or materials; Police emergency procedures; Police equipment; Radioactive analysis
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