Following a radiological terrorist incident, search and rescue (SAR) teams may be deployed to search for victims. While SAR personnel wear protective equipment such as coveralls, gloves, and respirators, only limited protective equipment is available for search dogs, and actually limits their ability to maneuver around. This reduced ability leads the SAR dogs to often wear no protective equipment while participating in a task, trading protection for efficiency. During a missions where they will operate in contaminated areas, this lack of protective equipment will expose them to radionuclides through a variety of pathways. Previously, little was known about the doses received by these dogs, and because of the uncertainty in the consequences for this exposure scenario, many SAR teams and handlers are concerned for the safety of their animals during such missions. Health physicists in the Nuclear Engineering Department at Texas A&M University in conjunction with the School of Veterinary Medicine will present a study that utilize the QUIC-PLUME atmospheric dispersion and HotSpot emergency response softwares . An RDD scenario was simulated with ground deposition, air concentration and resuspension data obtained and analyzed in order to produce an estimate for the doses received by these SAR dogs through multiple pathways using FRMAC methodology. Future work on the subject will also be discussed with the hope that these dose estimates can be used by event health and safety personnel to avoid acute effects and reduce the risk of long-term effects to SAR dogs.
Search and Rescue Dog (Photo credit: http://www.deerfieldvet.com/)
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- K. Cook, "Analyzing Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Dogs in a Radioactive Contaminated Environment", M.S. Thesis, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2019).
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