Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed an instantaneous crisis management system that can provide timely and readily comprehensible information to emergency responders. Why is this important?
Threats such as chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) explosions can occur as toxic gas plumes either accidentally or as a result of terrorism. Statistically, 75 percent of fatalities result from direct exposure to CBR contaminants within the first 15 minutes of an event, making emergency response times critical. If an effective response began within three to five minutes, 85 percent of those fatalities could be avoided.
The system, known as Contaminant Transfer Analyst (CT-Analyst®), was invented by Dr. Jay Boris, Dr. Gopal Patnaik, Keith Obenschain, and Adam Moses of NRL’s Laboratory for Computational Physics and Fluid Dynamics. CT-Analyst® uses detailed urban geometry and airflow data for specific regional environments, which can be manipulated instantly to predict the potential impact of urban air plume contamination. According to Moses, “CT-Analyst® gives first responders a key advantage so they spend less time calculating response needs and more time saving lives.
Basically, every scenario you can imagine has already been processed. It's in a database, and you just have to look it up. We're dealing with where you are on the street, where the fire trucks are headed and, more importantly, where you can set up a triage zone, where you can put up hospital tents, or whatever else you need, and know where that plume is headed and where it is not, and you can plan for both instances.”
According to Moses, “CT-Analyst® gives first responders a key advantage so they spend less time calculating response needs and more time saving lives.
CT-Analyst® has been transferred to a number of first responder communities across the world, including Los Angeles; Hamburg, Germany; Oslo, Norway; and countrywide in Kuwait. This was made possible through a partially exclusive license negotiated by Cameron Childs of NRL’s Technology Transfer Office and Dr. John Dennis of the Department of Defense’s TechLink with Safe Environmental Engineering (SEE) of California.
Two Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) executed by NRL’s Amanda Horansky-McKinney and the University of Hamburg have resulted in an operational demonstration version of CT-Analyst® by Hamburg’s Fire Brigade in January 2012. Additionally, one CRADA was executed in May 2016 with the University Graduate Center (UNIK) in Norway, with a goal of operational demonstration of CT-Analyst® in Oslo.
Furthermore, NRL’s Office of General Counsel’s Patricia Doutriaux has navigated export control issues and, along with Kendra Flowers, has entered CT-Analyst® into multiple Work for Others Agreements with several cities hosting major events. Two examples are the Super Bowl in Detroit and the 2013 Presidential Inauguration’s FBI All-Hazards Center, where CT-Analyst® provided an initial assessment of airborne contaminant threats.