In an age where chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear (CBRN) emergencies, both accidental and deliberate, pose a real threat to society, we are creating new integrated systems and technologies to aid first responders and save lives.

Our multi-million pound TOXI-Triage project, which brings together experts from across Europe, is 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.

These new technologies and systems will revolutionise the way emergency services across the world tackle a CBRN incident.

Find out how:

Accurate and rapid CBRN diagnosis

toxi triage diagnosis

Working with the TOXI-Triage partners, we have identified candidate metabolic markers present in the breath, saliva or skin of someone affected by radiation. Work is now underway on the data we have recovered from toxic alcohols and pesticides (which act in a similar manner to nerve agents).

We have used these metabolic markers to create a ‘diagnosis map’ which can be used alongside new analysis technology to carry out rapid triage of casualties in a CBRN emergency.

As well as identifying those who need urgent treatment, our technology can also quickly give the all clear to those that have not been affected. Reassurance in such crisis situations is equally as important to not overburden healthcare services that would already be under great stress.

Using social media to detect and track a crisis situation

In 2019 it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe.

Our TOXI-Motive system can collect and analyse over 4,000 tweets a second, searching for key words, phrases and hashtags that could be linked to an emerging CBRN incident.

It uses a detailed dashboard to present key data to incident commanders, providing on-the-ground information from the public as an emergency develops. It also acts as an important tool in combatting fake news, highlighting inaccurate information that may be being shared and enabling official sources to correct and target their communications.

Mapping each stage of an emergency response

Having a robust plan for any eventuality during a CBRN is the difference between life and death.

We have worked with End Users to deliver research for each stage and operational level of an emergency response – from the first blue light responders on the scene up to the most senior governmental positions.

The complex system of real-time decision-making also aims to bridge the gap between the detection and diagnostic technology, giving emergency responders instant guidance about which resources and equipment best fit the circumstances.

This gives an important framework for the development of new CBRN technologies to increase situational awareness, accuracy and efficiency in the emergency response including detection, communication, diagnosis and decontamination.

Sharing accurate and effective communications

In the midst of a CBRN crisis where there may be low public knowledge alongside high levels of anxiety, finding the best way to reach audiences of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and with varied information-seeking patterns and abilities, is a major challenge.

Our researchers are producing new recommendations to guide official communications during a CBRN crisis as well as setting out the standards for clear and compelling communications during the incident.

Providing emergency services with accurate information in real time and saving lives of those affected by chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear (CBRN) disasters.

Rapid chemical detection

tox triage drone being used

To support first responders in the rapid evaluation of an incident hot zone T4i engineering, an SME based on the Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park, has developed air sampling technology small enough to be carried by a drone.

The T4i DOVER™ (Drone Operable Vapour Examiner and Recorder) can be fitted to a UAV, flown into contaminated air space and in real time feedback information on the chemical compounds present in the atmosphere.

Although chemical sensing technology already exists, the T4i DOVER is the first to be compact enough to be fitted to a drone and capable of getting accurate air samples when on-board multi-rotor aircrafts.

A full scale field trial of the ground breaking TOXI-Triage technologies, in partnership with the Greek Ministry of National Defence, has already taken place, marking a major milestone for the project.

Meet the Game Changers

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Professor Paul Thomas

Professor of Analytical Science

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Professor John Downey

Director, Centre for Research in Communication and Culture

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Professor Sue Hignett

Professor of Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety

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Professor Tom Jackson

Professor of Information and Knowledge Management

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Dr Ejovwoke Onojeharho

Research Associate in Information Management

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Dr David Smith

Research Assistant