What is Chemical, Biological, Radiological Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE)? CBRNE is an acronym for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosives. These types of weapons have the ability to create both mass casualties as well as mass disruption of society. Emergency responders are taught how to recognize and mitigate attacks from such weapons. It is important for the public to be aware of these types of weapons. By becoming educated on the various types of weapons and how best to respond in the event of an attack, your chances of surviving are significantly increased.
- Chemical Weapons or CBRNE - CBRNE Nerve Agents: Nerve agents attack the victim's nervous system. Most belong to the family of chemicals known as organophosphates. Many common pesticides belong to this family of chemicals.
- CBRNE Blister Agents: Blister agents also known as vesicants attack the skin of the victim resulting in blisters and skin burns. Mustard gas and Lewisite are common blister agents.
- CBRNE Blood Agents: Blood agents attack the ability of the blood to hold and deliver oxygen. The victim suffocates. Cyanide gases and compounds are the most common types of these agents.
- CBRNE Choking Agents: These chemicals attack the lungs causing them to fill with fluid. Chlorine gas and phosgene are typical choking agents.
- CBRNE Incapacitating Agents: These agents usually irritate the skin, mucous membranes, eyes, nose, lips and mouth. They may cause vomiting or intolerable pain. While they may lead to serious medical situations such as seizures or heart attacks, they are not designed to kill or cause permanent harm. Used alone, the intention is to temporarily incapacitate or harass the target, or force them to evacuate the area. CBRNE is a multi-functional unit that employs the technology of two or more different types of respiratory protective devices (RPD) separately to provide protection against CBRNE hazards.
A CBRNE Team may use a combination of the following:
• Open Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (OC-SCBA)
• Closed Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (CC-SCBA)
• Supplied Air Respirator (SAR)
• Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR)
• Air-Purifying Respirator (APR)
Personal Protective Equipment Performance Standards
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed hazwoper training performance appropriate standards and test procedures for all classes of respirators that will provide respiratory protection from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agent inhalation hazards. These NIOSH CBRN respirator standards can be accessed at www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/standardsdev/cbrn/. NIOSH Statement of Standard for CBRN Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) The purpose of this standard is to specify minimum requirements to determine the effectiveness of open-circuit, positive-pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) used during entry into a CBRN atmospheres at or above Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH), or entry into unknown atmospheres.
Approval under NIOSH 42 CFR Part 84, Subpart H
Compliance with NFPA 1981 Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for Emergency Services Special Tests under NIOSH 42 CFR 84.63(c) 1. Chemical Agent Permeation and Penetration Resistance Against Distilled Sulfur Mustard (HD) and Sarin (GB) 2. Laboratory Respirator Protection Level (LRPL)
NIOSH Statement of Standard for CBRN Full Facepiece Air-Purifying Respirator (APR)
The purpose of this standard is to specify minimum requirements to determine the effectiveness of full facepiece air-purifying respirators (APR) used during entry into CBRN atmospheres not Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH).
NIOSH Statement of Standard for CBRN Power Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR)
The purpose of this standard is to specify minimum requirements to determine the effectiveness of tight-fitting and loose-fitting power air-purifying respirators (PAPR) used during entry into a CBRN or HAZWOPER atmosphere not Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), under the authorization of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, provides a testing approval and certification program assuring commercial availability of safe respiratory protective devices. The NIOSH Certified Equipment List or 40 hour HAZWOPER equipment is available in an internet searchable format at www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/CEL/default.html.