17 May 2019
Field trial will test new technologies for mass casualty incidents
A large-scale field trial in Finland will test new technologies aimed at saving lives during mass casualty chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear (CBRN) incidents.
The technologies and systems have been developed as part of the Loughborough University-led TOXI-Triage project.
The project launched four years ago with the aim of creating novel ways to give effective and diagnostically sound medical and toxic assessments to the casualties of a CBRN event amid the confusion, disorder, and dangers it would bring.
Over the next few days the team will travel to Finland to test out and demonstrate the capabilities of the TOXI-Triage technologies on the scenario of a chlorine gas escape, taking over the Market Square in Mikkeli. They are joining forces with the Finnish fire service, medical emergency response service and military for the field trial, named DISPERSE, which will involve more than 100 ‘casualties’.
Some of the technologies that will be used during the trial are:
- A system to determine the level of casualty exposure to poisons by analysing the skin, salvia and breath
- New payloads for drones that contain radiological and poison cloud monitoring instrumentation
- A tag and trace system that enables casualties to be monitored and traced throughout an incident
- New systems for mapping the environmental impact of an incident and managing decontamination activity
- Tools to tackle the spread of fake news during an incident and improve official communications
- A new way to utilise social media to track a crisis situation as it develops and to aid the deployment of the emergency services
Speaking about the field trial Loughborough University’s Professor Paul Thomas, who is leading the TOXI-Triage project, said: “We live in a time where CBRN terrorism is a real threat, and incidents such as the Birling Gap gas cloud and Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis illustrate how CBRN incidents can and do occur as a result of human error or a natural disaster.
“The emergency services need to have the best possible information when a CBRN incident occurs, in the quickest time possible without having to put further lives at risk. TOXI-Triage has created new hot zone assessment, diagnostic, communications and track and tag triage technologies, along with an integrated system that pulls all the information together in real time.
“In Finland we will demonstrate the capabilities of these new technologies, with the ultimate goal of getting them introduced and used by emergency responders across the world.”