How to Develop a Radiation Detection Deployment Plan (Multi-Video)

The rugged, pager-sized FLIR identiFINDER R200-GN SPRD is designed to detect and identify neutrons, in addition to gamma radiation, allowing front-line responders to quickly determine whether there is a true radiation threat for safe, informed decision making.
The rugged, pager-sized FLIR identiFINDER R200-GN SPRD is designed to detect and identify neutrons, in addition to gamma radiation, allowing front-line responders to quickly determine whether there is a true radiation threat for safe, informed decision making.

By Kevin Buxton, Director of Business Development at FLIR Systems

Radiation is one of the most dangerous threats to responders. You can’t see it, smell it or hear it.

It could be part of an attack, or it may be a benign radiation source.

Fast, informed decision-making is critical when lives are on the line – having the right tools in your toolkit can make all the difference.

No one radiation instrument can meet all the demands that a responder may encounter, and a good deployment platform relies on having a range of supporting technologies.

Deciding what tools to arm yourself with can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

(Radiation is not well understood. FLIR PRIMED’s Grant Coffey covers the important safety basics you need to know. FLIR PRIMED is FLIR’s 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Award-Winning CBRNE Training Video Series. Every few weeks, they deliver best practices, industry insights, and real-life experiences to help you stay prepared. Each episode is accompanied by a field checklist or downloadable guide that you can use right now! See more at FLIR.com/PRIMED Courtesy of FLIR Systems and YouTube. Posted on Apr 14, 2017.)

TYPES OF HANDHELD INSTRUMENTS

There are several types of handheld radiation detection instruments that can be considered, including:

Personal Survey Meter/Personal Radiation Detector (PSM/PRD)

  • The most widely deployed type of radiation detector, PRDs are belt-worn devices that form the frontline for threat interdiction, offering first responders, or security personnel, the knowledge they need of their surroundings to ensure their personal protection.

There’s a reason FLIR offers more than one instrument in a given classification - one size does not fit all scenarios. Different types and sizes of detectors complement one another during a radiological event and provide a greater level of safety.
There’s a reason FLIR offers more than one instrument in a given classification – one size does not fit all scenarios. Different types and sizes of detectors complement one another during a radiological event and provide a greater level of safety.
  • However, they require the support of more capable instruments once the initial detection has been made.

  • Additional tools are needed to perform identification once the initial detection has been made.

Spectroscopic Personal Radiation Detector (SPRD)

  • SPRD can be belt-worn or vehicle-mounted to function as a PRD.

  • Additionally, they provide real-time spectroscopic capability for monitoring gamma and/or neutron activity, performing isotope identification, enhancing on-scene information, and safer decision-making on-scene during a radiological event.

Radionuclide Identification Device (RID)

  • RID Handheld devices that are most often used on the front line or for secondary verification on-scene.

  • RIDs are generally more sensitive than PSM/PRDs and SPRDs due to their use of crystalline scintillation or semiconductor detector materials.

  • They are considered the best all-purpose survey tool for gamma and/or neutron radiation, and they generate the spectroscopic info needed to identify specific nuclides.

(FLIR identiFINDER R200 with neutron capability is an important early warning system for responders, and a 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winner. Courtesy of FLIR Systems and YouTube. Posted on Nov 17, 2015.)

CONSIDERATIONS AND DEPLOYMENT SCENARIOS

Some key considerations that should be addressed in deciding what set of complementary tools to include in your deployment strategy, include:

  • Technologies: Tube-based or crystal-based

  • Potential applications: Surveying, front-line, or secondary confirmation

  • Sensitivity: Monitoring or “search and find”

  • Resolution: Separating malicious from benign substances

The rugged, pager-sized FLIR identiFINDER R200-GN SPRD is designed to detect and identify neutrons, in addition to gamma radiation, allowing front-line responders to quickly determine whether there is a true radiation threat for safe, informed decision making.
  • Reachback: Sending information back from the front-line

  • Field Ruggedness: Surviving harsh environments

  • Neutron Detection: Early warning for malicious materials

One of the best ways to start thinking through your deployment plan is by reviewing these considerations in terms of the missions and scenarios you expect to encounter.

Here are some things to keep in mind for common scenarios.

Scenario #1: Monitoring pedestrian flow at events, entrances, or other checkpoints, where the mission is to locate, identify, and separate innocent or benign sources (medical patients) from potential threats.

(Radiation events are rare but extremely serious – understanding the tools available to you and how they work could make all the difference. See FLIR Primed discussed time, distance, and shielding. In Episode 27, they take a deeper look into sensitivity and resolution – two important factors that determine how quickly and cleanly a detector will sense and identify a radiation source. Courtesy of FLIR Systems and YouTube. Posted on Dec 18, 2018.)

Considerations:

  • There is a control of flow and it can be stopped or started as needed.

  • Devices with smaller detectors will not overload if a medical patient passes through.

  • Devices with smaller detectors will not detect sources too distant to physically locate.

  • The identification-capable devices will allow immediate adjudication of the radiological event.

  • The belt-wearable options leave both hands free to perform tasks.

  • Devices with a neutron detection option add a layer of protection on the frontline.

Courtesy of FLIR Systems

Scenario #2: Screening vehicles rather than pedestrians, as well as larger volumes, such as shipping containers, semi-trucks, and other cargo.

  • All devices should be considered to form layers of capability.

  • Smaller detectors form excellent front-line detection.

  • Larger detectors provide additional support, detect the presence of radiation earlier, deliver increased sensitivity, and can identify more quickly if needed.

  • Higher sensitivity improves the speed of initial detection.

  • Faster identification and adjudication help maintain flow at check-point or loading dock.

  • Devices with a neutron detection option add a layer of protection.

Courtesy of FLIR Systems
Courtesy of FLIR Systems

Larger volumes (shipping containers, semi-trucks, and containers) provide the opportunity for creative concealment methods (shielding and masking), where a higher resolution device will provide more fidelity and improve the ability to identify both present materials and artifacts.

Additionally, higher resolution combined with a larger detector provides even faster identification.

In all scenarios, there is a great benefit in deploying the maximum number of detectors to increase the tightness of the net in place.

The right balance of initial detection and adjudication devices can greatly increase the effectiveness of security operation.

(See the FLIR identiFINDER R440 in action – a lightweight, sourceless RIID that can be operated with one hand and is IP67-rated to survive tough missions. Courtesy of FLIR Systems and YouTube. Posted on Oct 23, 2017.)

NEUTRON CAPABILITY

Some of these considerations are easier to answer than others. One that can sometimes be confusing is determining if you need neutron detection capability in your toolkit.

The desire to monitor for the presence of neutrons is usually driven by two main considerations:

The rugged, pager-sized FLIR identiFINDER R200-GN SPRD is designed to detect and identify neutrons, in addition to gamma radiation, allowing front-line responders to quickly determine whether there is a true radiation threat for safe, informed decision making.
The rugged, pager-sized FLIR identiFINDER R200-GN SPRD is designed to detect and identify neutrons, in addition to gamma radiation, allowing front-line responders to quickly determine whether there is a true radiation threat for safe, informed decision making.
  1. Neutrons have the ability to penetrate material and travel distances far greater than any other form of radiation.

    1. A neutron detector has a better opportunity of detecting neutrons before any other associated type of radiation, like gamma, from the same source.

    2. The neutron detector is considered by many to be an important early warning system for the detection of malicious material.

  2. Neutrons are often associated with the presence of fissile material. They are absolute secondary confirmation when a gamma-based identification of uranium or plutonium has been made.

    1. The presence of neutrons when a non-fissile identification is made can indicate that malicious materials are being hidden or masked behind a larger benign source.

    2. This is a highly suspicious situation and triggers an immediate response.

Most handheld RID devices are used as a stand-alone solution and the majority of those deployed have neutron detection capability.

Courtesy of FLIR Systems
Courtesy of FLIR Systems

Although neutron capability is commonly available, it is possible to buy RIDs without this option.

Belt-worn PSM and PRD devices generally do not have neutron capability due to size and cost considerations.

SPRD devices are available with or without neutron detectors, which enables customers to determine a balance point on deployment coverage, capability, and cost.

Neutron detection can be accomplished using several different detection materials, three of which are Helium-3 (He-3 Tube), zinc sulfide (ZnS), and sodium iodide doped with lithium (NaIL).

The identiFINDER R-series are easy-to-use handheld instruments that quickly detect, locate and identify radiation sources.
The identiFINDER R-series are easy-to-use handheld instruments that quickly detect, locate and identify radiation sources.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

These are just a few of the key points to consider when building out your radiation detection deployment strategy.

Regardless of the tools you choose, proper initial training and refresher exercises are vital in making sure your team is prepared to understand alerts and how to react appropriately to malicious materials.

Remember, one size does not fit all.

Different types and sizes of detectors complement one another during a radiological event and provide a greater level of safety.

Radiation is one of the most dangerous threats to responders. You can’t smell it or hear it. While it could be part of an attack, it may be a benign radiation source. But how do you know what type of radiation source you’re facing and if you have the right tools on hand to take action?
Radiation is one of the most dangerous threats to responders. You can’t smell it or hear it. While it could be part of an attack, it may be a benign radiation source. But how do you know what type of radiation source you’re facing and if you have the right tools on hand to take action?

A deployment strategy should include a mix of PSMs/PRDs, SPRDs, and RIDs. Programs that incorporate a mix gain these key operational advantages:

  • Immediate access to information on the type of radiological event enhances the safety of the frontline responder

  • Reachback-enabled devices provide information to secondary responders dispatched to support the event

  • Spectroscopic information shared with decision makers beyond the frontline enables the mobilization of appropriate resources

Keep in mind the types of scenarios that you could encounter, along with some key considerations like, sensitivity, resolution, reachback and neutron detection, when determining the right mix of instruments for your toolkit.

(FLIR PRIMED Grant’s Lessons Learned: Ten of the most common mistakes Grant has seen responders make on-scene and how you can avoid them. Courtesy of FLIR Systems and YouTube. Posted on Oct 23, 2017.)

FLIR Systems Recognized in Third Annual ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program

FLIR Systems

2018 ASTORS Silver

  • Best Perimeter Protection Solution

  • FLIR Saros Dome Camera

  • FLIR is also a 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Winner

The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program is specifically designed to honor distinguished government and vendor solutions that deliver enhanced value, benefit and intelligence to end users in a variety of government, homeland security and public safety vertical markets.

2018 'ASTORS' Homeland Security Awards Luncheon at ISC East
2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Luncheon at ISC East

The 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program drew an overwhelming response from industry leaders with a record high number of corporate and government nominations received, as well as record breaking ‘ASTORS’ Presentation Luncheon Attendees, with top firms trying to register for the exclusive high – end luncheon and networking opportunity – right up to the event kickoff on Wednesday afternoon, at the ISC East registration!

Over 130 distinguished guests representing National, State and Local Governments, and Industry Leading Corporate Firms, gathered from across North America, Europe and the Middle East to be honored among their peers in their respective fields which included:

2018 ASTORS

  • The Department of Homeland Security
  • The Federal Protective Service (FPS)
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • The Department of Homeland Security
  • The Department of Justice
  • The Security Exchange Commission Office of Personnel Management
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Viasat, Hanwha Techwin, Lenel, Konica Minolta Business Solutions, Verint, Canon U.S.A., BriefCam, Pivot3, Milestone Systems, Allied Universal, Ameristar Perimeter Security and More!

The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards is the preeminent U.S. Homeland Security Awards Program highlighting the most cutting-edge and forward-thinking security solutions coming onto the market today, to ensure our readers have the information they need to stay ahead of the competition, and keep our Nation safe – one facility, street, and city at a time.

The 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program was Proudly Sponsored by ATI SystemsAttivo NetworksAutomatic SystemsDesktop Alertand Royal Holdings Technologies.

2018 Champions Edition

See the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Champions Edition – ‘Best Products of 2018 ‘ Year in Review’ for in-depth coverage of the outstanding products and services of firms receiving American Security Today’s 2018‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards.’

Nominations for the AST 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program will officially open as of January 1st, 2019 at americansecuritytoday.com.

Enter Early to Maximize Media Coverage of your Products and Services at Kickoff, and Get the Recognition Your Organization Deserves!

And be sure to Register Early for the 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon at ISC East 2019 to ensure your place at this limited- space event!

2018 'ASTORS' Homeland Security Awards Luncheon at ISC East
2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Luncheon at ISC East

Why the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program?

American Security Today’s comprehensive Annual Homeland Security Awards Program is organized to recognize the most distinguished vendors of physical, IT, port security, law enforcement, and first responders, in acknowledgment of their outstanding efforts to ‘Keep our Nation Secure, One City at a Time.’

Why American Security Today?

American Security Today is uniquely focused on the broader Homeland Security & Public Safety marketplace with over 70,000 readers at the Federal, State and local levels of government as well as firms allied to government.

The old traditional security marketplace has been covered by a host of security publications that have changed little over many years.

American Security Today brings forward a fresh compelling look and read with our customized digital publications that provides our readers with solutions to their challenges.

Our Editorial staff provides a full plate of topics for our AST monthly digital editions, AST Website and AST Daily News Alerts.

The editorial calendar and AST’s high drawing website features 23 different Technology and Marketing Sectors such as Access Control, Perimeter Protection, Video Surveillance/Analytics, Airport Security, Border Security, CBRNE Detection, Border Security, Ports, Cybersecurity, Networking Security, Encryption, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Campus Security, Security Services, Corporate Facilities and Emergency Response among others.

These sectors are part of the new integration, where these major applications communicate with one another in a variety of solutions to protect our cities and critical infrastructure.

AST has Expanded readership into vital Critical Infrastructure audiences such as Protection of Nuclear Facilities, Water Plants & Dams, Bridges & Tunnels, and other Potential targets of terrorism.

Other areas of concern include Transportation Hubs, Public Assemblies, Government Facilities, Sporting & Concert Stadiums, our Nation’s Schools & Universities, and Commercial Business Destinations – enticing targets for extremist or lone wolf attacks due to the large number of persons and resources clustered together.