Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Airborne Los Alamos Instruments Test For Toxins From Fires

Date:
May 6, 2005
Source:
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Summary:
A unique hazard-detecting plane, supported by scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory and operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was on duty to warn first responders and residents with information about potential chemical hazards during a recent Houston oil refinery disaster.

Photograph of flames engulfing part of the Texas facility. Photo credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., April 12, 2005 -- A unique hazard-detecting plane, supported by scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory and operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was on duty to warn first responders and residents with information about potential chemical hazards during a recent Houston oil refinery disaster. The specially equipped aircraft was able to determine whether any chemical vapor hazards were present so that those near the site could be evacuated safely.

The British Petroleum-Amoco Refinery, located in Texas City, Texas, near Houston, suffered a catastrophic explosion March 23, killing 15 and injuring more than 100 people. Called to duty in the immediate aftermath, the plane, a twin-engine Aerocommander 680 aircraft based in the Dallas, Texas vicinity, is equipped with a multi-spectral infrared (IR) mapping system and a Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectrometer package called ASPECT. This airborne sensor is the only "stand-off infrared" detection tool devoted to emergency domestic response applications.

As backup for the staff on board the airplane, Los Alamos scientists provided "reachback" support -- a phone bridge with the EPA project managers and the aircraft operators to discuss the results and implications of data collected from the aircraft at the site. Los Alamos supports the development of unique computer pattern recognition tools used for chemical and radiological data analysis on the aircraft.

Said scientist Mark Thomas of EPA's Region 7, "With the data analysis software on the aircraft, coupled with the technical reachback capabilities currently provided to the nation by Los Alamos National Laboratory, the EPA can more effectively give immediate information to first responders at the site enhancing protection of the public from chemical hazards."

Gary Brown, Director of Iowa Woodbury County Emergency Response Services said, "The data and information generated by ASPECT provides first responders with a critical link that emergency responses do not currently have; namely, real-time wide-area chemical detection information."

The ASPECT plane and equipment have been called into service nationwide more than 40 times, having flown during the space shuttle debris search, the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, during the summer 2003 California fires, and during chemical plant and rail-car accidents in a number of states. The technology provides first responders with critical information regarding the size, shape, composition and concentration of gas clouds.

The Laboratory's Center for Homeland Security is supporting the project and has hopes to enhance the ability to provide reach-back safety protections for first responders and the public.

"ASPECT is well suited for response to incidents during the initial phases of an event, prior to determination of the cause-be it an accident or of malicious origin," said Gary Resnick, head of chemical and biological threat reduction at Los Alamos CHS.

The ASPECT plane and its gear basically provide a remote airborne detection system that provides information about exact locations of contamination and aid in avoidance of those hazardous areas for first responders. This system can be ready for rapid response with the ability to examine extremely wide areas as the plane scans an area in ever-widening patterns over a suspected danger site. The airborne equipment can identify, map and provide GPS locations of the extent of a chemical hazard cloud, helping first responders and residents stay out of harm's way, especially when the hazards are invisible.

The ASPECT system uses three sensors mounted aboard an aircraft operated by an EPA first-responder crew. The first sensor, the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, detects and locates chemical vapors. It can see through smoke and dust to get a measurement of the location and concentration of the vapor plume. A second sensor, a high-resolution Infrared Line Scanner, records an image of the ground below, as well as plume information.

The system then uses GPS mapping data and digital images of the site to create exact maps and digital data overlays of chemical plumes and low area locations where toxin-laden air may accumulate.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Airborne Los Alamos Instruments Test For Toxins From Fires." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050504101934.htm>.
Los Alamos National Laboratory. (2005, May 6). Airborne Los Alamos Instruments Test For Toxins From Fires. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050504101934.htm
Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Airborne Los Alamos Instruments Test For Toxins From Fires." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050504101934.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins