Emergencies involving chemical, biological, or radioactive/nuclear (CBRN) materials usually require a complex incident response, whether they are intentionally or accidentally caused.
During a CBRN incident, environmental sampling, mapping, and computer modeling are often used to characterize the location and extent of a release and to predict the movement of hazardous materials in the environment. This generates a lot of data that must be analyzed quickly for decision-making and development of a common operating picture. Technology that facilitates incident management and the rapid capture and sharing of data is often needed in CBRN incidents.
The CBRNResponder Network is a secure, cloud-based platform for CBRN incident data sharing and multi-hazard event management. It is intended to serve as a hub and one-stop shop for all-hazards planning, preparedness, operational tools and resources.
CBRNResponder is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal partners and is free to all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (FSLTT) emergency response organizations. The service is intended to be used by SLTT agencies to manage their own CBRN incidents and associated data. However, the service integrates with federal assets if a Stafford Act declaration is requested.
CBRNResponder began as a tool for management of radiological and nuclear emergencies. Based on lessons learned from responder feedback after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant emergency, the RadResponder program was initially launched in 2013 to close capability gaps in real-time radiological data collection, management and sharing.
In 2016, RadResponder was codified in FEMA’s Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex (NRIA) to the Response and Recovery Federal Interagency Operational Plans as the “national standard and Whole Community solution for the management of radiological data.” This means RadResponder is here to stay as a service for SLTT agencies whenever they need it.
Today’s CBRNResponder Network has expanded on the foundation established by the RadResponder program to include:
- The Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC) Portal.
ChemResponder and BioResponder add capabilities requested by SLTT agencies to facilitate data collection and analysis for chemical and biological emergencies.
The IMAAC Portal allows any CBRNResponder user to request IMAAC plume models. IMAAC can then seamlessly push models and briefing products to users for exercises or real-world emergencies.
Today, more than 2,200 emergency response organizations and more than 13,000 responders are using the CBRNResponder Network. The network is supported by a 24/7 emergency support hotline. Live training webinars are conducted monthly, and recordings are posted to CBRNResponder’s YouTube channel and the CBRNResponder Network website.
FEMA’s CBRN Office conducts nationwide drills several times a year, providing the opportunity to practice using the network’s capabilities and features while assessing your organization’s readiness to respond to a CBRN incident in a low-pressure, non-attributional training environment.
The next nationwide drill is scheduled for May 1-5, 2023. This drill will use ChemResponder in a chemical incident scenario: Information Sharing During Rail-Tank Car Emergencies Involving Hazardous Materials. See the April 2023 CBRNResponder newsletter to learn more. This drill is open to all CBRNResponder users.
To learn more about the CBRNResponder Network, visit the website at CBRNResponder.net and see the National Introductory Training video. If you are interested in joining, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an account. Please share this information widely with your colleagues and partner agencies.