Detection of Chemical Weapons

OPCW Inspector using two different detectors. Training in Czech Republic, 2008.

Source: A FOA Briefing Book on Chemical Weapons.

Choice of correct protective equipment, and correct behaviour, may be decisive for rescue operations in CW contaminated environment. Detection is vital in obtaining information on the risks.

Detection implies that evidence is obtained on the types and quantities of CW agents in the area. The questions asked may be whether, for example, protective masks are required, whether body protection is necessary, if normal behaviour should be modified in any special way, and whether equipment will require decontamination. Detection may be needed for several different purposes, e.g.,

  • alarm,
  • all-clear,
  • verification and identification,
  • mapping of ground contamination,
  • mapping of decontamination requirement.

Different types of detection require different types of equipment and methods. In some cases we must determine whether the gas concentration in the air is at a dangerous level. In other situations, investigations are made of whether soil or equipment is contaminated with liquid agent, i.e., is dangerous to handle.

Select a link to learn more:

1. Verification and Identification

2. Mapping of Ground Contamination

3. Mapping of Decontamination Requirement

4. Developmental Trends

5. Manual Detection Methods

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