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  1. #1
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    Default Radiation Dosimeters

    Firefighters...Here's my dilema. I'm in charge of putting together a class on some dosimeter's purchased by my department. The problem is I have no background in radiological monitoring, theory, etc...

    I have found a fair amount of information on responding to radiological incidents on the internet, but none of them have a lot of information on dosimetry. The manufacturer's manuals leave a bit to be desired.

    Does anyone have information (or know a link to information) on DMC-2000 type dosimeters and/or Arrow-Tech Direct Reading Dosimeters (they look like pen-lights)?

    Any help or information is appreciated.

    Thanks!


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    DMC-2000, digital display, read it like a pager. Comparitively high maintenance.

    The Arrow-Tech Direct Reading Dosimeter, point the bottom at a light source, look through the top and read the scale. These are also called PICs - Pocket Ion Chambers. Low maintenance.

    For either unit, make sure you get units that read in millirems (or milliroentgens), not REMS.

    The direct reading units will require the least maintenance, they do not need batteires (except for the "charger" calibration unit).

    If I can help more, send me an email.

    Scott
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    I appreciate the offers of assistance...I'm sure I'm not the only one that doesn't know much about these, so in an effort to assist other's, I have a couple questions that I'd like to keep public just in case anyone has anything to add or something I say is wrong can be corrected...

    As far as the pen-light dosimeter and its charger, I understand enough to know you put the dosimeter on the charger and scale the dial to zero. As far as the terminology of being a "charger", is there any requirement to hold the dosimeter down a certain amount of time or is my goal simply to "zero" the dosimeter? Is anything actually being "charged"?

    Also, on the arrow-tech DRD, I have a scale that reads from 0 to 200 milliroentgens...(1) Are milliroentgens and millirems essentially the same thing except one is a reading in air and the other is a reading of an exposed "man"...(2) On the scale from 0 to 200 milliroentgens, what number is too much? If the scale hits 200, do they need to evacuate now...if they go into a scene multiple times...say 5 times into a scene and each time they get an exposure of 20...for a total of 100...is that too much. I can't find a good guide on how to use these numbers in an emergency response mode.

    On the digital dosimeter, I have the same question as far as the significance of the numbers.

    Also, since our department has both types of dosimeters, what is the accepted practice as far as using them. Should a firefighter wear both? Is one better than the other? Is one dosimeter per team acceptable or do I need one per individual?

    Does anyone have SOP's that outline any of this?

    Any help or thoughts are appreciated...Thanks again!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayakking
    I appreciate the offers of assistance...I'm sure I'm not the only one that doesn't know much about these, so in an effort to assist other's, I have a couple questions that I'd like to keep public just in case anyone has anything to add or something I say is wrong can be corrected...

    As far as the pen-light dosimeter and its charger, I understand enough to know you put the dosimeter on the charger and scale the dial to zero. As far as the terminology of being a "charger", is there any requirement to hold the dosimeter down a certain amount of time or is my goal simply to "zero" the dosimeter? Is anything actually being "charged"?

    Also, on the arrow-tech DRD, I have a scale that reads from 0 to 200 milliroentgens...(1) Are milliroentgens and millirems essentially the same thing except one is a reading in air and the other is a reading of an exposed "man"...(2) On the scale from 0 to 200 milliroentgens, what number is too much? If the scale hits 200, do they need to evacuate now...if they go into a scene multiple times...say 5 times into a scene and each time they get an exposure of 20...for a total of 100...is that too much. I can't find a good guide on how to use these numbers in an emergency response mode.

    On the digital dosimeter, I have the same question as far as the significance of the numbers.

    Also, since our department has both types of dosimeters, what is the accepted practice as far as using them. Should a firefighter wear both? Is one better than the other? Is one dosimeter per team acceptable or do I need one per individual?

    Does anyone have SOP's that outline any of this?

    Any help or thoughts are appreciated...Thanks again!!

    My station has Diablo Canyon Nuclear Powerplant in its response area (CDF/SLO County Fire Station 62) and we had our training on Dosimeters and other related issues for the plant handled by the plant FD as well as a representative from the County office of Emergency Services. If you have some sort of industry in your response area that deals with larger quantities of radioactive materials (I assume you do since your dealing with Disimeters) they are a great source of information since in many cases people of authority at those plants are required to maintain a monitoring and preparedness program. In our area the County provides us with our radiation related equipment and provides the training on it as well so we dont have to handle it in house.

    Cheers,

    Drew

  6. #6
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    As far as the terminology of being a "charger", is there any requirement to hold the dosimeter down a certain amount of time or is my goal simply to "zero" the dosimeter? Is anything actually being "charged"?
    No, charger is just a term, may be local. Just zero the PIC and you're ready to go.

    - 1) Are milliroentgens and millirems essentially the same thing except one is a reading in air and the other is a reading of an exposed "man"...
    Yes, both are short named mR

    (2) On the scale from 0 to 200 milliroentgens, what number is too much? If the scale hits 200, do they need to evacuate now...if they go into a scene multiple times...say 5 times into a scene and each time they get an exposure of 20...for a total of 100...is that too much. I can't find a good guide on how to use these numbers in an emergency response mode.
    The PIC will keep a running log, so-to-speak, so long as it is no re-zeroed, dropped or otherwise mishandled.

    100mR is not too much. But it is something to pay attention to.

    How long was their exposure to get 20mR? 30 seconds? 30 minutes?

    If it took 30 seconds, then the dose rate is 2,400mR (2.4R) per hour. Something isn't right.

    The feds allow 75R per hour dose to save a life, or 75,000mR.

    There are some items going down the road that can have more dose if not handled properly. Radiography equipment comes to mind. As long as teh shutter is closed, no problem. If the shutter is open, you could have a big problem.

    I can't find a good guide on how to use these numbers in an emergency response mode.
    Check out the links at the end of this reply.

    On the digital dosimeter, I have the same question as far as the significance of the numbers.
    The answer is the same as above.

    Also, since our department has both types of dosimeters, what is the accepted practice as far as using them. Should a firefighter wear both? Is one better than the other? Is one dosimeter per team acceptable or do I need one per individual?
    One per firefighter, no need to wear both. Wear it on the chest on the outside of any PPE you're wearing.

    And check out these articles for more information: http://www.firerescue1.com/firerescu...ine/23-8/9514/

    http://extension.osu.edu/~rer/rerhtml/rer_49.html

    http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/lstintro.htm

    Scott
    www.gvfd.org

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    Scott's points are right for the most part. The EPA recommends protective measures for the public at dose rates over 2 mr per hr and allows 25 R one time lifesaving dose. Trained nuclear workers can volunteer for a one time dose of 75 R to save a life and are authorized to recieve up to 5 R annually as an occupational dose. I get nervous providing maybe just enough info to hurt someone here. I HIGHLY recommend a professional provide the training. There are way too many variables for the average firefighter to receive a brief training session and expect to be protected. The dosimeter is basically telling you how much radiation you were already exposed to. A rate meter combination is a much better unit for the FD. The units we have (SAIC and Canberra Mini Radiac) start at Micro rem and automatically shift up to millirem and then rem. They record the rate you are receiving radiation and alert you audibly and visibly when you have A. Entered a dose rate above the alarm set point or B. Received your total dose for that entry. A good haz mat analogy would be relying on a chemical badge to indicate that you have already received a high dose of a chemical vs a direct reading instrument that warned you quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aswestby
    My station has Diablo Canyon Nuclear Powerplant in its response area (CDF/SLO County Fire Station 62) and we had our training on Dosimeters and other related issues for the plant handled by the plant FD as well as a representative from the County office of Emergency Services. If you have some sort of industry in your response area that deals with larger quantities of radioactive materials (I assume you do since your dealing with Disimeters) they are a great source of information since in many cases people of authority at those plants are required to maintain a monitoring and preparedness program. In our area the County provides us with our radiation related equipment and provides the training on it as well so we dont have to handle it in house.

    Cheers,

    Drew
    That's your response area??? Very nice... The industry in our area with radioactive materials are just the norm...hospitals, transportation, food.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halligan84
    Scott's points are right for the most part. The EPA recommends protective measures for the public at dose rates over 2 mr per hr and allows 25 R one time lifesaving dose. Trained nuclear workers can volunteer for a one time dose of 75 R to save a life and are authorized to recieve up to 5 R annually as an occupational dose. I get nervous providing maybe just enough info to hurt someone here. I HIGHLY recommend a professional provide the training. There are way too many variables for the average firefighter to receive a brief training session and expect to be protected. The dosimeter is basically telling you how much radiation you were already exposed to. A rate meter combination is a much better unit for the FD. The units we have (SAIC and Canberra Mini Radiac) start at Micro rem and automatically shift up to millirem and then rem. They record the rate you are receiving radiation and alert you audibly and visibly when you have A. Entered a dose rate above the alarm set point or B. Received your total dose for that entry. A good haz mat analogy would be relying on a chemical badge to indicate that you have already received a high dose of a chemical vs a direct reading instrument that warned you quickly.
    Your points are well taken and I wish we would have a "professional" train us on this equipment. I believe this is some of the federal money my department is spending on getting equipment that is probably not high on their priority list when it comes to backing up with training...and training costs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottCook
    No, charger is just a term, may be local. Just zero the PIC and you're ready to go.


    Yes, both are short named mR


    The PIC will keep a running log, so-to-speak, so long as it is no re-zeroed, dropped or otherwise mishandled.

    100mR is not too much. But it is something to pay attention to.

    How long was their exposure to get 20mR? 30 seconds? 30 minutes?

    If it took 30 seconds, then the dose rate is 2,400mR (2.4R) per hour. Something isn't right.

    The feds allow 75R per hour dose to save a life, or 75,000mR.

    There are some items going down the road that can have more dose if not handled properly. Radiography equipment comes to mind. As long as teh shutter is closed, no problem. If the shutter is open, you could have a big problem.


    Check out the links at the end of this reply.


    The answer is the same as above.


    One per firefighter, no need to wear both. Wear it on the chest on the outside of any PPE you're wearing.

    And check out these articles for more information: http://www.firerescue1.com/firerescu...ine/23-8/9514/

    http://extension.osu.edu/~rer/rerhtml/rer_49.html

    http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/lstintro.htm

    Scott
    Thanks for the info and the links. This will definitely help. Our department will be approaching an incident involving radiation very conservatively no doubt.

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    Learn something new everyday. I didn't know that the EPA allowed a life saving dose of 25R.

    I stayed away in this discussion from the dose rate function of the electronic dosimetry because they should be used for reading dose rates. That being said, the alarm functions are certainly nice. We use the Siemens ED.

    And, as John said, you should also get a rate meter combination. From what I understand they can be had for around 3 grand.

    Scott
    Last edited by ScottCook; 04-18-2006 at 08:02 AM.
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    Scott,

    Do you get training from Comanche Peak? Do they provide any of y'alls radiation related resources?

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    FEMA offers several indepenent study courses you can take at home/work. They are not as good as a profesional trainer, but for those on a budget with a need it might give you just what you need.

    Click here to visit FEMA's Emergency Management Institute's course listing
    http://www.training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/crslist.asp

    Look at courses IS-3, IS-301, IS-302, IS-330, IS-331


    FEMA Independent Study Program
    IS-3 Radiological Emergency Management

    This independent study course contains information on a variety of radiological topics, including:

    * Fundamental principles of radiation
    * Nuclear threat and protective measures
    * Nuclear power plants
    * Radiological transportation accidents
    * Other radiological hazards

    This course is available as an interactive web-based training (below).
    I believe some are open ended, others involve tele-lectures and presentations so are only available on specific dates.
    Last edited by Fire304; 04-18-2006 at 10:57 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayakking
    Scott,

    Do you get training from Comanche Peak? Do they provide any of y'alls radiation related resources?
    Yes and no.

    Comanche Peak has provided some training to us, such as the effects of radiation, what we're supposed to do in the event of a release from the place, how to respond to a multi-agency response at the facility, and so forth.

    Comanche Peak does not provide us with the radiation related resources to use in town. The resources will be provided to us at the plant in the event we have to respond out there.

    The staff at Comanche Peak will provide us (and other area FDs) with any training and technical expertise we request.

    Are you in the area?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottCook
    Yes and no.

    Comanche Peak has provided some training to us, such as the effects of radiation, what we're supposed to do in the event of a release from the place, how to respond to a multi-agency response at the facility, and so forth.

    Comanche Peak does not provide us with the radiation related resources to use in town. The resources will be provided to us at the plant in the event we have to respond out there.

    The staff at Comanche Peak will provide us (and other area FDs) with any training and technical expertise we request.

    Are you in the area?
    Depends on how you define area...the beautiful city of Garland, Texas...which I guess can be anywhere from 2 to 4 hours from you depending on what time of day you decide to make the journey.

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    I just talked to Lentz the other day. He sure is enjoying retirement.

    What station are you at?
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    Actually there is FREE training and they come to you!

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/docs/DPETAP_factsheet.pdf

    Contact your state coordinator for haz mat or homeland security, for those of us in NJ it is the NJSP.

    Check this out for some more info.

    http://www.epa.gov/radiation/rert/links.htm#usepa

    Regarding meters, for haz mat teams we use Ludlum instruments for rad detection and contamination survey. You do get into some bucks there, but your state reps may be able to help with a kit (we have the white kit for all teams in NJ) For personal monitoring the Canberra Mini Radiac is mil spec and firefighter friendly, they ran about 550 when I last bought some.

    BTW Scott.. The civilian limits came as a suprise to me too when I first got into them for haz mat team at home.

  18. #18
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    Kayakking - Email me.
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