Marine, Navy Response Force Does More With Less
GALLAGHER, W. Va. — The Chemical Biological Incident Response Force has received several important technology upgrades during the past year that will make their mission of saving lives in the event of a terrorist attack easier, said a senior officer.
“The Marines motto is to do more with less … we don’t have money pouring in, but we use it very wisely,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tauseef A. Badar.
CBIRF recently received new, improved masks with heads-up displays that let the user know how much air remains. This is a major upgrade from the old units, which were not built for use for chemical-biological incidents, said Badar, who is in charge of the technology CBIRF uses.
A new air replenishment system, built by Scott Health & Safety of Monroe, N.C., refills 18 air tanks per hour. Old air compressors could only do a couple every hour.
“It’s a quick way to keep our bottles filled as we go back and forth,” Badar said.
The unit also received two mobile labs that are capable of identifying thousands of chemical compounds.
A new communication system allows the unit to receive real-time intelligence while on the move concerning the incident through the Defense Department’s secure web portals.
The response force, along with Marine Corps Systems Command, hosted an industry day in April where vendors showed the latest gear designed for WMD and high-yield explosives response teams.
At such events, personnel from senior officers down to lance corporals provide feedback on whether the new technology is suitable, Badar said.
“We look at everything from respirators to detection equipment,” he added. “What are our capabilities and what are our capability gaps?” Sometimes the solution is a change in tactics, techniques and procedures. Other times, there are technologies that can help, he said.
CBIRF works closely with the first responder community to look for mutual solutions to problems since they are working toward the same goals, he said.
The air tank replenishment system, used by firefighters, is one example.
“If you are a first responder, you need to have some kind of replenisher for your [breathing apparatus]. It’s critical,” Badar said.
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