Uni re­search rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing work of emer­gency ser­vices

Work aims to set ‘Gold stan­dard’ for life-threat­en­ing in­ci­dents

Loughborough Echo - - NEWS - DAVID GODSALL david.godsall@reach­plc.com

RE­SEARCH led by Lough­bor­ough Univer­sity is rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the way emer­gency ser­vices across the world tackle life-threat­en­ing in­ci­dents.

The work seeks to set the new global ‘Gold Stan­dard’ for how emer­gency ser­vices should tackle a chem­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal, radi- oac­tive, or nu­clear (CBRN) in­ci­dent.

In an age where a CBRN emer­gency, both ac­ci­den­tal and de­lib­er­ate, poses a real threat to so­ci­ety, new in­te­grated sys­tems and tech­nolo­gies are needed to aid first re­spon­ders and en­hance the pro­tec­tion of ci­ti­zens.

The multi-mil­lion pound TOXI-Triage project, which brings to­gether ex­perts from across Europe, is cre­at­ing novel ways to give ef­fec­tive and di­ag­nos­ti­cally sound med­i­cal and toxic as­sess­ments to the ca­su­al­ties of a CBRN event amid the con­fu­sion, dis­or­der, and dan­gers it would bring.

These new tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems will rev­o­lu­tionise the way emer­gency ser­vices across the world tackle a CBRN in­ci­dent.

Funded by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the project brings to­gether 19 teams span­ning the emer­gency and health ser­vices, de­fence, in­dus­try, and univer­sity aca­demics.

To­gether the re­search team have de­vel­oped ad­vanced meth­ods to de­ter­mine the level of ca­su­alty ex­po­sure to poi­sons by analysing the skin, salvia and breath, and cre­ated new pay­loads for drones that con­tain ra­di­o­log­i­cal and poi­son cloud mon­i­tor­ing in­stru­men­ta­tion.

They have de­signed new sys­tems for map­ping the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of an in­ci­dent and man­ag­ing de­con­tam­i­na­tion ac­tiv­ity, de­vel­oped tools to tackle the spread of fake news dur­ing an in­ci­dent and im­prove of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and cre­ated a way to utilise so­cial me­dia to track a cri­sis sit­u­a­tion as it de­vel­ops and to aid the de­ploy­ment of the emer­gency ser­vices.

Later this month the en­tire project team will travel to Athens for a fullscale field trial of the new tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems, in part­ner­ship with Greece’s Min­istry of Na­tional De­fence. This will be the first time ever so many new ad­vanced meth­ods and tech­nolo­gies will have been com­bined to tackle a sim­u­lated CBRN cri­sis.

At the end of the project it is an­tic­i­pated that these new tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems will be­come the Gold Stan­dard for an emer­gency re­sponse, as well as be­com­ing stan­dard fea­tures in hospi­tals across the globe to sup­port ev­ery­day health­care emer­gen­cies.

Paul Thomas, Pro­fes­sor of An­a­lyt­i­cal Sci­ence from Lough­bor­ough’s Depart­ment of Chem­istry, is lead­ing TOXI-Triage. He said: “Over the last four years some of the strong­est teams across Europe have been work­ing to­gether to help en­sure so­ci­ety can re­spond to and tackle a CBRN in­ci­dent in the best pos­si­ble way.

“We live in a time where CBRN ter­ror­ism is a real threat, and in­ci­dents such as the Bir­ling Gap gas cloud and Ja­pan’s Fukushima nu­clear cri­sis il­lus­trate how CBRN in­ci­dents can and do oc­cur as a re­sult of hu­man er­ror or a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

“The emer­gency ser­vices need to have the best pos­si­ble in­for­ma­tion when a CBRN in­ci­dent oc­curs, in the quick­est time pos­si­ble with­out hav­ing to put fur­ther lives at risk. TOXI-Triage has cre­ated new hot zone as­sess­ment, di­ag­nos­tic, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and track and tag triage tech­nolo­gies, along with an in­te­grated sys­tem that pulls all the in­for­ma­tion to­gether in real time.

“TOXI-Triage is truly rev­o­lu­tion­ary and sets to re­write the way a CBRN in­ci­dent is man­aged.”

Re­search led by Lough­bor­ough Univer­sity is rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the way emer­gency ser­vices across the world tackle life-threat­en­ing in­ci­dents.

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