Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA
A flexible high-tech wipe that has defense, homeland security and industrial applications has been developed to protect soldiers, emergency personnel and civilians. Chantilly, VA-based First Line Technology is promoting “systems approach,” to combat threats from toxic chemicals. FiberTect® technology, developed by First Line Technology, feeds exactly to the immediate needs of the United States’ Defense and Homeland Security community.
First responders face a wide range of chemical threats, including chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. To deal with this largely unknown threat, responders require a flexible, inexpensive, and broad spectrum protective fabric system.
An effective and universal dry decontaminant, capable of decontaminating personnel and sensitive equipment, needs to be non-corrosive and devoid of particles such as with the case of M-291 kit. Although there are a range of aqueous decontaminants, they do not have broad range of action as they are very specific to subsets of nerve and toxic industrial chemicals. Additionally, liquid based chemical decontamination technologies may be corrosive to sensitive equipment and even human skin.
There is an immediate need to develop a “system approach,” which will tackle the shortfall with standalone technologies. This concept has been advocated by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL Science & Technology Review, March 2009). Having a wiping technology as part of the decontamination system offers several advantages such as avoiding the excessive use of chemical decontaminants and offering cost savings.
FiberTect® is a three layer, inert, flexible, drapable, nonwoven composite substrate for absorbing and adsorbing chemical warfare agents (CWAs), toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), toxic industrial materials (TIMs), and pesticides.
Amit Kapoor, President of First Line Technology stated, “Non-aqueous wipe technology helps with bulk decontamination of toxic chemicals. Testing has shown that bulk decontamination is an important step in the removal of contamination before applying neutralizing decontaminants. Dry wipe also helps to reduce the overall decontamination footprint for first responders while expanding response capability.”
FiberTect® decontamination wipe can serve as a standalone technology or used effectively as an integral component of a decon system. This can be used on personnel and sensitive defense equipment and can be handled very easily with regards to use and disposal. FiberTect® keeps life-cycle costs low and is self-contained and packaged for easy use, storage, and transport.