Thursday 8 December 2011

Technology for Scottish emergency response service

The Environment Agency of England and Wales set up a network of air quality incident response units following the Buncefield explosion and Quantitech supplied most of the monitoring equipment.
Since then the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has equipped itself with a range of the latest environmental monitoring technologies for use by the Airborne Hazards Emergency Response (AHER) service to improve the provision of information about airborne hazards during a significant incident such as an explosion or a major fire. This will allow NHS Scotland and the emergency services to assess the potential risks to human health and mitigate them.

The monitoring equipment includes advanced portable Gasmet FTIR multi-gas analysers in addition to Tecora Echo high volume and Delta low volume air sampling equipment. The instruments have been deployed in mobile vehicles and provide SEPA with the ability to respond quickly to emergencies by monitoring airborne particulates and almost any gas.

Quantitech's Dr Andrew Hobson has been responsible for providing initial training on the instruments. He says, "We are delighted that the Gasmet DX4030 portable FTIR gas analyser has been chosen for this project because it was developed for applications in which almost any gas might need to be identified, so it is ideal for incident investigations.

"The FTIR analyser can be located in a backpack and effectively provides laboratory grade analysis in a field instrument. A Bluetooth connection to a handheld PDA provides simultaneous measurements for up to 25 compounds and the collection of a complete sample spectrum means that over 250 compounds can be analysed and the unit can potentially analyse over 5000 compounds."

The introduction of the new service has been led by SEPA in partnership with other agencies and will help protect the public during emergencies by providing interpreted and informed scientific advice on airborne hazards to NHS Scotland and the emergency services

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